DRDO Pushes Hypersonic Boundaries with Oxidation-Resistant Coatings Development

DRDO Pushes Hypersonic Boundaries with Oxidation-Resistant Coatings Development

India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is pushing the boundaries of hypersonic missile development with Project ET-LDHCM, aimed at creating advanced materials essential for long-distance hypersonic cruise missiles.

The project's core focus is on developing protective coatings that can withstand the extreme conditions of hypersonic flight.

The Challenge of Hypersonic Flight​

Hypersonic missiles, traveling at speeds greater than Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound), generate incredible heat due to friction with the atmosphere.

These extreme temperatures demand the use of refractory alloys – such as Niobium, Molybdenum, and Tungsten – in missile construction. Unfortunately, these alloys are prone to rapid oxidization at high temperatures, potentially degrading their structural integrity.

DRDO's Solution: Advanced Protective Coatings​

To combat this challenge, DRDO's project seeks to develop cutting-edge, multi-component oxidation-resistant coatings designed specifically for refractory alloys.

These coatings will be crucial in enabling the alloys to function effectively at temperatures surpassing 1100°C under normal atmospheric conditions.

The project also aims to develop thermal barrier overlay coatings to provide an additional layer of protection, further increasing the materials' resistance during sustained hypersonic flight.

Project Deliverables​

Project ET-LDHCM specifies a number of key deliverables. DRDO seeks the following:
  • Successful research, design, and supply of oxidation-resistant coatings for Niobium, Molybdenum, and Tungsten alloy plates.
  • Development of specialized processes and brazing alloys tailored for Niobium-based materials.

The Significance​

The successful outcome of Project ET-LDHCM holds tremendous potential for India's hypersonic missile development program.

These advanced materials and coatings are indispensable for ensuring the reliable, long-term operation of hypersonic cruise missiles, exposed to the intense conditions of hypersonic flight.

DRDO's initiative marks a significant step forward in India's mastery of hypersonic technology.
This is a critical necessity and important missile that we need to design and develop and as quickly as possible. This will give the military a operational advantage that we need as nobody is going to give us 100% of the technology. At the same time we need to develop a SAM defence shield against them.

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