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Hypersonic cruise vehicle test flight planned in 2007

Staff Reporter

Work already in progress; 2,000-acre land sought from State Government for new facility


Hypersonic vehicles can cover long ranges quickly and deliver different payloads They can be made re-usable When commercially used, travel time between Hyderabad and Delhi will be 20 minutes



Awesome Power:The DRDL Director, Prahlada, at the missile development facilities in Hyderabad. The country's key missiles -- Agni, Prithvi, Akash, Nag and Trishul -- have been developed at the missile complex comprising the DRDL, the RCI and the ASL. — Photo: Satish H.

HYDERABAD: The Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) is poised to test-fly the first version of the hypersonic cruise vehicle in 2007.

It has asked the Andhra Pradesh Government to provide 2,000 acres of land on the city outskirts to set up infrastructure for the hypersonic flight programme.

"Work has been on for the past three years and we intend to test-fly the world's most integrated hypersonic system three years from now," DRDL Director Prahlada told presspersons here on Tuesday, on the eve of National Technology Day.

Hypersonic flights move at sustained speeds above Mach 6 — 6,000 km an hour or 5-12 times the speed of sound — and offer potential applications in military, space and civil use.

Russian, French interest

Dr. Prahlada said Russia and France evinced a keen interest to work on the subsystem and component levels of the missile.

The Centre would fund the programme, whose cost is said to run into several hundred crores.

Recruitment on

The recruitment of scientists and engineers was on in a big way. Some non-resident Indians were also keen on working in the programme.

The DRDL, which powered the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos that travels at Mach 2, into space, had the wherewithal to work on hypersonic applications, Dr. Prahlada said. With the completion of development trials on the quick-reaction surface-to-air missile, Trishul, the mobile area defence surface-to-air missile system exclusively for the Indian Air Force and the third generation anti-tank guided missile, Nag, the DRDLwas likely to receive a Letter of Intent from the Defence Ministry by the year-end for their full-scale production.

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