The country’s second largest hypersonic wind tunnel facility was inaugurated at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). The 0.5 meter facility is next only to the one meter hyper sonic wind tunnel facility at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Kerala. Built over a period of two years at a cost of Rs 6 crore, the new facility will be used for conducting tests on a larger scale, according to Mr B Vasudevan, Principal Research Scientist, Hypersonic Wind Tunnel, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IISc. Work to begin in 6 months “The new facility will immediately test the HSTDV (Hypersonic Testing Demonstrator Vehicle) and we will be undertaking work in the next six months,” said Vasudevan.IISc is already equipped with a 0.3 meter hypersonic wind tunnel facility, the first in the country, built at a cost of Rs 45 lakh about 30 years ago. “The facility tested projects worth Rs 15 crore to Rs 20 crore and more than recovered its cost,” said Mr Vasudevan, adding that it has been used for testing smaller planes and missiles.
Need for such facilities
Mr Vasudevan stressed on the need for such facilties in the country to cut expenditure on testing and to prevent keeping the latest capabilities under wraps. “Undertaking tests in countries like Israel and Russia would take anywhere between Rs 15 crore to Rs 30 crore and this amount can be significantly brought down when such indigenous facilities are developed. Moreover, undertaking such tests outside the country can give immediate clues on what we are up to in the field of defence and in developing other such capabilities,” he said. On the occasion, former Director of National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) and Honorary Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Dr Roddam Narasimha, spoke on the need to build bigger wind tunnel facilities and drawing more young scientists into the field. A number of other eminent scientists from IISc and outside were present during the inauguration.