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SCIENCE BEHIND AIR-BREATHING SCRAMJET ENGINE

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) performed a major technological feat when it flew a cruise vehicle at a hypersonic speed of Mach six for 20 seconds.

Details

  • The DRDO called the cruise vehicle Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV).
  • The centrepiece of the HSTDV was the indigenously developed air-breathing scramjet engine, which formed the HSTDV’s propulsion system.

How is it powered?

  • In an air-breathing scramjet engine, air from the atmosphere is rammed into the engine’s combustion chamber at a supersonic speed of more than Mach two.
  • In the chamber, the air mixes with the fuel to ignite a supersonic combustion but the cruiser’s flight will be at a hypersonic speed of Mach six to seven.
  • So, it is called supersonic combustion ramjet or Scramjet.

Indigenous technology

  • The DRDO’s missile complex in Hyderabad, comprising the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), the Research Centre, Imarat (RCI), and the Advanced Systems’ Laboratory (ASL) developed all the technologies needed for the mission.
  • Mastering the air-breathing scramjet technology will lead to the development of hypersonic missiles, faster civilian air transportation and facilities for putting satellites into orbit at a low cost.

-Source: The Hindu

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October 2022
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