Constituted in 1958 with an amalgamation of the then already functional Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of Indian Army and Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP) with Defence Science Organisation (DSO), Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) commenced their operations merely with 10 establishments to count. With the passage of time, DRDO has grown into a gigantic banyan tree all over the country working in a plethora of disciplines, laboratories, academic institutions and industrial units. With over 5,000 scientists and 25,000 technical personnel, they have been spearheading pioneering research in disciplines like Aeronautics, Armament, Electronics, Combat Vehicles, Technical Systems, Instrumentation, Projectiles, Advanced Computing and Simulation, Special Purpose Materials, Naval Systems, Life Sciences, IT, and Agriculture. From a prolonged spell of the languor of being a dormant organisation till 2014, it was newly installed Prime Minister Narendra Modi who instructed DRDO to quickly metamorphose into a vibrant organisation and address all emerging challenges in the arena of national security.
DRDO had hardly ever been in media glare till the historic moment of highly successful Mission Shakti wherein a functional satellite some 300 Kms. above in space circumambulating Planet Earth at the velocity of 7 Kms. per second was shot down by a ‘Hit & Kill’ device with an accuracy of mere 10 cms. at its velocity of 11 Kms. per second over Bay Of Bengal. It was such a milestone attained at the very first attempt by DRDO that it stunned the world. And Bharata turned out to be the fourth nation to be so embellished after USA, Russia and China. The highly admirable success of Mission Shakti brought DRDO into the limelight that had been instrumental in the venture. The success of Mission Shakti had been aggregation and convergence of decades of hard work by 150 scientists and hundreds of specialists all over the country within a span of just 2 years from the word ‘Go’ by the Prime Minister in 2016. The Kill-Vehicle had two stage propulsion with IIR Seeker to lock in with the satellite with perfect precision. Fifty industries provided 2,000 components with flawless quality to the project without even knowing anything about the Mission. Vivekananda International Foundation at New Delhi decided to invite Chairman of DRDO and Secretary, Department Of Defence Research & Development Dr. G. Satish Reddy to deliver a talk on wide-ranging activities of the prestigious organisation on April 11, 2019.
DRDO has vigorously focused on indigenisation of technologies supported by various organisations, institutions and industry. The most conspicuous area has been missile technology which witnessed development and successful field trials of Prithvi, Akash (I, II, III, IV and V), Dhanush, Nag, HELINA, Brahmos, MRSAM etc. Out of these, Brahmos is a supersonic missile with Bharata-Russia collaboration while MRSAM a Bharata-Israel joint venture. Akash is already in production and deployment while Brahmos as well as MRSAM in the process of. Associated systems of missile technology too, have been successfully tested and inducted. Anti-radiation missile NGRM, Ballistic Missile Defence i.e. BMDs, Nirbhaya, Prahar, Portable ATGM are under advanced stages of either trials or induction. Very few countries in the world have been successful in BMD technology. Public sector undertakings Bharata Dynamics Ltd. And Bharata Electronics Ltd. have been lead aggregators in this area of missile technology.
Tejas is a Light Combat Aircraft that received final operational clearance during Aero Bharata-2019 at Bangaluru. It was earlier personally flown by US and Singapore Air Force Chiefs and they declared it to be the finest single engine jet-fighter in the world. It is not really very difficult to discern as to why its development was procrastinated for decades by earlier Governments. Tejas Mark II and it’s naval version too, are in advanced stages of development. Unmanned aerial systems like Nishant, Rustom I and II, PTAs, AEWCS are capable of carrying out their missions from altitudes ranging from 12,000 to 30,000 ft. above sea level.
Among Combat Vehicles, Arjuna Mark I is developed indigenously and inducted into Army while Mark II is undergoing advanced trials. Vehicles for recovery, reconnaissance and repair have also been developed in addition to Wheeled Armoured Platform and modular bridges, 20 to 40 meters long.
When it comes to artillery and armament, Pinaka rockets, INSAS rifles, ammunition for Arjuna, Carbines, Field Guns with a range of 50 Kms., multi-mode grenades, FACPDS war-heads to penetrate thick concrete walls etc. are some of the important products developed by DRDO and deployed by Forces.
The nation is highly advanced in the field of radars too. More than 10 types of radars have been developed and successfully deployed by Forces. Air Defence Flight Control System Radar mounted in Tejas is highly advanced. Rudra, LRTR radars with various features too, shall be inducted soon.
Sanyukta for Army, Sangraha and Varuna for Navy and Divya-Drishti for Air Force are Electronic Warfare Systems have been fine-tuned and inducted into Forces.
Similarly, self-sufficiency in Sonars like ALTAS, TODA and torpedoes like TAAL and Varun-Astra as well as anti-torpedo Maricha has already been attained.
Devices like transmitters for various applications, TR Modules, Pressure Sensors, secured communication, detectors to detect radiation etc., decontamination equipment, helmets, masks, specialised suits etc. have been developed indigenously, tried, tested and inducted into Forces successfully.
In the field of materials, DMRLs in Bhagyanagar, Kanpur and Mumbai have been delivering excellent results.
In RF technology, KU / Ka Bands have been developed and already in the application.
Artificial Intelligence and High Power Laser Warfare too, has been undertaken for development.
Various models of engagement are employed by the DRDO for collaboration with institutions and industries without compromising the integrity of classified designs, details shared. One of them is Government Owned Company Operated i.e. GOCO Model wherein DRDO develops infrastructure while industry manages that. Prominent educational / research institutions participating in their activities are IITs, IISc, Jadavpur / Bhartiar / Hyderabad / Mizoram Universities. From industry, Houses of Tatas, Mahindras are prominent ones contributing their might to te nation. DRDO shall ever be at the forefront of research and development of defence as well as offensive-defence of the nation.