On the 7th, India announced, bolt out of the blue, that it had successfully conducted the first hypersonic vehicle test, which led the country’s media to cheer India as “the fourth country in the world to accomplish this feat” and believe that “India can develop a hypersonic cruise missile within 5 years”.
India’s “The Print” website stated on the 7th that the “hypersonic technology demonstration vehicle” successfully tested by India that day made India the fourth country in the world to develop and test this technology after the United States, China and Russia. It will pave the way for India to develop a Mach 6 missile”. The report claims that India is expected to build the first hypersonic missile within 5 years.
The Indian Defense Research and Development Organization stated that the vehicle used the first stage of the “Agni-1” ballistic missile as a booster. When it reached an altitude of 30 kilometers, the vehicle successfully separated from the rocket under hypersonic conditions. It flew along the planned route at 6 times the speed of sound (about 2 kilometers per second) for more than 20 seconds. The US “The Drive” website stated on the 7th that in June 2019, India had conducted a similar experiment, but failed”. As it moves towards the new field of hypersonic weapons, India is also watching China — China has made great progress in this field”.
A Chinese expert interviewed by the Huan Qiu Shi Bao said on the 8th that the technically, hypersonic missiles are currently divided into two categories: one, boost gliding hypersonic missiles, and the other is cruise missiles with new asphirated engines. India’s test belongs to the latter. Experts believe that, according to the Indian media, the development stage of the vehicle tested by India is roughly equivalent to that of the X-51A hypersonic plane tested by USA 10 years ago, but the technical level is still much lower. When the X-51A was fired for the first time, the scramjet engine worked for 140 seconds. Even so, 10 years have passed since the first test flight of the X-51A. The US has not yet successfully developed a hypersonic cruise missile with scramjet engines. Therefore, the Indian media’s belief that the country would be able to manufacture hypersonic cruise missiles within five years may be too optimistic.