India latest nation to test hypersonic technology


India reported in September 2020 that it had successfully tested hypersonic technology, becoming only the fourth country in the world to do so.

It was already among the small group of nations that possess nuclear weapons, and only the People’s Republic of China, Russia and the United States had previously tested hypersonic weapons.

Hypersonic weapons are considered unstoppable because they can travel at least five times the speed of sound and are extremely maneuverable, making them hard to strike down with missiles.

A statement from India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) noted that the test demonstrated the platform’s capabilities.

“The @DRDO_India has today successfully flight tested the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle using the indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system,” Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh posted on Twitter. “With this success, all critical technologies are now established to progress to the next phase.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi responded that the test vehicle traveled at six times the speed of sound. “Very few countries have such capability today,” Modi tweeted.

Hypersonic missiles can travel with computerized precision while descending back into Earth’s atmosphere. Although they can be armed with nuclear warheads, the speed and force of a hypersonic missile allow it to inflict damage by sheer kinetic impact without the need for explosives.