|Picture of rocket sled that achieved Mach 8.5. U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Heather Newcomb via Wikimedia|
DRDO Chief and SA to RM, Shri Avinash Chander, inaugurated a supersonic Rail Track Rocket Sled (RTRS) facility at the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory( TBRL) Chandigarh on Monday, May 12, 2014.
The 4-km long, penta rail facility is equipped a rocket powered sled that accelerates to supersonic speeds to facilitate testing of payload for manned missions of ISRO, the navigation system for missiles and aircraft, proximity fuses for advanced warheads, fuses for armament systems, parachutes for payload delivery, and arrester systems for aircraft such as LCA.
The rocket sled does not use wheels; instead, it has sliding pads called "slippers", which are curved around the head of the rails to prevent the sled from flying off the track.
Describing the RTRS facility, Dr Manjit Singh Outstanding Scientist & Director TBRL said, “the facility consists of five rails, each having a length of 4 km, on which a test article can be propelled at supersonic speed with the help of specially designed rockets. The track built for this purpose is precision aligned and capable of withstanding high levels of load. The capability so acquired will accelerate the pace of development of defense and aerospace technologies and products”.
Other countries which have similar facilities include the USA, Russia, France, UK and Germany.
A rocket sled holds the land-based speed record for a vehicle, at Mach 8.5.