Hyderabad: The Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and India's Defence Research and Development Organisation are working together on a hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle (HSTDV). The work is moving apace with the intention of conducting a test flight sometime in 2008.
DRDO is developing the HSTDV to demonstrate a kerosene-fuelled scramjet engine capable of powering air-breathing vehicles to a speed of Mach 6.5-7. It is the stated aim of the project to reduce the cost of putting payloads into orbit by a factor of 100, i.e. to $200/kg ($90/lb). Some of the wind tunnel testing for the project is being performed by the IAI.
India is already conducting extensive research on special materials for thermal protection of the HSTDV, including carbon-carbon composites, nickel-based superalloys, niobium alloys and high thermal conducting copper alloy.
Indo-Israeli RAM/SCRAMJET cooperation
Meanwhile, at a prestigious scientific conference dealing with "High speed trans-atmospheric air and space transportation" conducted in the Indian city of Hyderabad from June 29-30 and inaugurated by the Indian president, and distinguished aerospace scientist Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, some hints were dropped about the Indo-Israeli cooperation in this area.
The Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)'s president & CEO, Itzhak Nissan, was invited as a guest of honor at the event in deference to his personal activities in India, where he leads a number of advanced technological projects.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Kalam mentioned that Ram/Scramjet engine technology had already been designed and tested by both Russia and the US since the 1960s and most recently by the US through the Flight Technology Demonstrator, X-43. The president also mentioned that India too had "…designed and tested scramjet engines, both kerosene fueled and hydrogen fueled, on ground test facilities.
In his speech, the President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, praised the growing cooperation between India and Israel at large and the cooperation with IAI in particular.
In his lecture, IAI's president & CEO, Itzhak Nissan, said "IAI, the leading aerospace industry in Israel, is partner for a wide range of commercial and military projects in India. In these projects, we manage to express the capabilities that are mutual to both countries. We are proud to be partners with the superb capabilities demonstrated by the Indian development and manufacturing teams working on some of the most advanced projects in the world."
Mr. Nissan added that: "IAI expresses profound appreciation for the high level of scientific level and motivation that can be found at India's research institutions and aerospace industry."
During the conference, VK Saraswat, the chief controller (R&D), DRDO and chairman of the Aeronautical Society of India, made a presentation on the commercial Hyper Sonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle. The ground test for HTDV scramjet propulsion system using kerosene as fuel has been conducted by DRDO scientists at a high speed material testing laboratory abroad and the results have been encouraging, he told reporters at the event.
This would be a reference to the wind tunnel and other experiments being carried out by the IAI.