HomeGlobal Defence UpdatesFrench Hypersonic Glider VMax Takes to the Skies on Maiden Flight

French Hypersonic Glider VMax Takes to the Skies on Maiden Flight

Source : Frontier India

French Hypersonic Glider VMax Takes to the Skies on Maiden Flight
Image Credit : Twitter @DGA)

French Hypersonic Glider VMax Takes to the Skies on Maiden Flight

On June 27, the Direction générale de l’armement (DGA; Directorate General of Armament) launched a sounding rocket bearing the hypervelocity glider demonstrator VMax for the first time.

In a tweet, DGA said that it was equipped with numerous onboard technological advancements; this test flight was an unprecedented technical challenge that prepared our national hypervelocity roadmap for the future. France is one of the few nations with credible expertise in this subject.

As a reminder, then-Minister of Defence Florence Parly first mentioned the VMAX programme in January 2019. It was later entrusted to ArianeGroup, which benefited from the efforts of the National Office of Aerospace Studies and Research (ONERA). Launched by a sounding rocket, the unpowered glider must strike the atmosphere’s strata at a velocity greater than Mach 5, the DGA explained.

With this VMAX test, France is essentially resuming a project it abandoned in the early 1970s due to budgetary constraints and the inability to produce certain essential materials. When this occurred, the Landes Testing Centre was preparing to launch the VERAS glider (Experimental Vehicle for Aerothermodynamic and Structural Research) with a Diamant A rocket.


Only the United States, Russia, and China have successfully flown hypersonic gliders. North Korea claims to have done so, but this cannot be substantiated. For this purpose, India is also pursuing the HGV-202F programme.

LAST WEEK, the DGA issued two navigational warnings concerning areas extending from its “Missile Testing” facility in Biscarrosse to the Celtic Sea. The trajectory described in these warnings suggested that they were preparing to conduct the first test flight of the hypersonic aircraft VMAX (Experimental Manoeuvring Vehicle).

On June 26, after 10 p.m., several photographs depicting mysterious traces in the sky were shared on social media. It was plausible that they were associated with the DGA’s navigational warnings. A few hours later, the Ministry of Armed Forces confirmed that the hypersonic glider VMAX had just completed its maiden flight after being propelled by a sounding rocket launched from Biscarrosse.

Admiral (Retired) Charles-Henri du Ché, the military advisor at ArianeGroup, states that a second hypersonic glider demonstrator dubbed “VMAX-2” with enhanced performance is anticipated to fly in 2024 or 2025. During a recent parliamentary hearing, he explained that once France has these two demonstrators, the country will possess this technology, and it will be up to the Armed Forces General Staff to express, if required, the need to develop it into a weapon. French Hypersonic Glider VMax Takes to the Skies on Maiden Flight French Hypersonic Glider VMax Takes to the Skies on Maiden Flight French Hypersonic Glider VMax Takes to the Skies on Maiden Flight French Hypersonic Glider VMax Takes to the Skies on Maiden Flight French Hypersonic Glider VMax Takes to the Skies on Maiden Flight IgMp

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