India Inches Closer to Developing Hypersonic Weapons: US Congressional Report
© Sputnik / Press service of the RF Ministry of DefenseTest firing of a Zircon hypersonic cruise missile from the Admiral of the Soviet Union Fleet Gorshkov frigate from the White Sea at a coastal target located at the Chizha training ground in the Arkhangelsk Region.
© Sputnik / Press service of the RF Ministry of Defense/
After successfully demonstrating an anti-satellite missile in 2019, Narendra Modi's government also approved the development of the surface-to-surface "Shaurya" hypersonic missile last year, amid border tensions with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.
A US Congressional report has claimed that India would be among a small number of countries that will soon have hypersonic weapons.
In its latest report this week, the independent Congressional Research Service (CRS) said that in addition to China, the US and Russia, India, Australia, France, Germany, and Japan are also developing hypersonic weapons technology.
“Reportedly, India is developing an indigenous, dual-capable hypersonic cruise missile as part of its Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle programme and successfully tested a Mach 6 scramjet in June 2019 and September 2020,” the CRS said.
The report also claimed that India's other hypersonic programme is underway with Russia's help, and the missile is now scheduled to achieve initial operational capability between 2025 and 2028.
The report mentioned that India has 12 hypersonic wind tunnels that are being used to test speeds of up to Mach 13.
Indian media reported last year that the Narendra Modi government allowed the armed forces to induct a hypersonic missile, better known as a land version of the submarine-launched BA-05, in the near future.
Capable of carrying warheads with a payload of up to one tonne, the missile has a strike range of 750 km. It can travel at hypersonic speed - six times the speed of sound, and reach an altitude of 40 km.
On 7 September, 2020, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said the state-funded Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) using a domestically-developed scramjet propulsion system.
Earlier this week, the London-based Financial Times reported China conducted two tests of new hypersonic weapons in July and August this year. However, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it had only launched a spaceplane, and the test took place on 16 July.