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India working on supersonic missile aircraft

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CHENNAI (PTI): After launching missiles from land and sea, India is in the process of developing suspersonic missile aircraft that would hit long range targets from air, a noted scientist has said.

"It needs a lot of testing on the ground. You need to fly it on the ground and do the testing. The integration (of the missile) has been done with the aircraft. But there are many other aspects. We are in the process", former chief controller, Research and Development in Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) A Sivathanu Pillai said on Tuesday.

To a query, he said it should be launched within a year.

Earlier the plan was to launch it before December 2014.

But even if it happens within a year, it was to India's advantage as no other country has done it before, he told reporters.

Pillai, who was also former MD and CEO of BrahMos Aerospace, said the hyperplane was the future for India, using hydrogen-based fuel to make it travel 25 times faster than the speed of sound.

"When you are talking about hyperplane, you are talking about increasing the speed. Our idea is to use hydrogen-based fuel for Mark25, which will be 25 times faster than sound.

Speed will be about 25,000 km per hour. That type of hyperplane we are conceiving...," he said.

On future defence programmes, he said the Indian Space Research Organisation and DRDO were working on developing Hypersonic technology using Helium III as fuel through Fusion technology.

Helium III energy is available on the Moon and studies have proved that it can be generated by fusion and not Fission technology, he said.

"By fission we are able to generate energy. For the future energy, you have to go for fusion technology. When you do fusion technology with Helium III you are able to get enormous power. But Helium III is not available readily. You have to mine it from the Moon, bring it and then purify it," he said.

"All these are under development. We are working on the Hypersonic technology. ISRO is working on it, DRDO is working on it...," he said, adding it was not an easy technology as many countries have tried it and failed.

Pillai, who was recently awarded the 15th Lal Bahadur Shastri Award by President Pranab Mukherjee, was here to receive the "Lifetime Achievement Award" presented by Rotary Club of Madras.

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