The Defence Research and Development Organisation on Monday successfully carried out a test flight of the indigenously-made Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle or HSTDV, which will serve as the foundation for next-generation hypersonic cruise missiles. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the agency and said that the country was proud of its achievement.

“In a historic mission today, India successfully flight tested Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle, a giant leap in indigenous defence technologies and significant milestone towards a sashakt [strong] bharat and an atmanirbhar [self-reliant] bharat,” the DRDO tweeted. “DRDO with this mission, has demonstrated capabilities for highly complex technology that will serve as the building block for next generation hypersonic vehicles in partnership with industry.”

The test flight was conducted from the APJ Abdul Kalam Launch Complex at Wheeler Island in Balasore, off the coast of Odisha. It was done using the Agni missile booster and lasted for five minutes, according to Hindustan Times. It was led by DRDO chairperson G Satheesh Reddy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the launch. “Congratulations to DRDO_India for successful flight of the Hypersonic Test Demonstration Vehicle today [Monday],” he tweeted. “The scramjet engine developed by our scientists helped the flight achieve a speed 6 times the speed of sound! Very few countries have such capability today.”

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called the test a “landmark achievement” for India’s self-reliance project. “The DRDO has today successfully flight tested the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle using the indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system,” he tweeted. “With this success, all critical technologies are now established to progress to the next phase.”

Singh added: “I congratulate to DRDO on this landmark achievement towards realising PM’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. I spoke to the scientists associated with the project and congratulated them on this great achievement. India is proud of them.”

India has now become the fourth country after the United States, Russia and China to successfully test hypersonic technology, according to Hindustan Times. Unidentified officials told the newspaper that with the successful flight test, the defence agency will be able to develop a hypersonic missile with scramjet engine in next five years. The missile will be powerful enough to travel at a speed of more than two kilometres per second.