SOME MAJOR STRIDES
IN DEFENCE RESEARCH
The Defence Research
& Development Organisation (DRDO) has embarked on a journey
to empower India with the cutting-edge defence technology in pursuit
of technological excellence. The mission is to be self-reliant
in critical defence technologies and systems by indigenisation
and innovation in order to equip our armed forces with state-of-the-art
weapons system and equipment.
The DRDO executes
various R&D projects through a network of 51 laboratories
spread across India. The department has a technical work force
comprising 6000 scientists, engineers and 35000 office personnel.
As it is most of
the advanced technologies are controlled by the developed countries.They
tend to deny the benefits of their research and development to
a country like India. The DRDO’s initiatives are aimed at minimizing
the dependence on imports that come with unacceptable conditions.
Pursuing these initiatives is bound to cause delays because even
the ordinary components are not readily available.
The DRDO has accorded
top priority to the development of critical technologies. Some
notable achievements include the Gallium Arsenide and Silicon
Foundries; Monolithic Micro Wave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) and
Application- Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), Parallel Processing
and Super Computer; Titanium Sponge and Aerospace Application
Materials; Semi-Conductor Materials and their Substrate Materials;
Digital Flight Control and Avionics; High Power Lasers and Phase
Some of the
systems developed by the DRDO that have either entered the production
phase or were under production for delivery to the armed forces
during 2002 are the AGNI-II missile, Pilot-less Target Aircraft-
LAKSHYA, Bridge Layer Tank on T-72 Chassis, Multi-Span Bridge-
SARVATRA, Hull-mounted Sonar System –HUMSA, submarine Sonar- USHUS
Both the Indian
Air Force and Indian Navy have now got the Lakshya. The delivery
for the Army is planned in 2002-03. Five Lakshyas with control
equipment are under manufacture for the Army. Consequent upon
the interest evinced by Israel, its demonstration flights have
successfully been conducted in that country.
Nishant is an unmanned
aircraft developed for aerial surveillance and reconnaissance
of the battlefield. The system development has been completed.
Its reliability and consistency in performance has been established.
Its production is likely to begin shortly.
missile BRAHMOS is the outcome of a joint venture between India
and Russia. It has been flight-tested twice in India and both
the times it met all the mission objectives. Both Indian and Russian
navies are preparing for trials of Brahmos on various platforms
to induct it in their missile systems. The production facilities
have also been geared up in both the countries to meet the orders.
The first Technology
Demonstrator was flight-tested on January 4, 2001. The second
Technology Demonstrator made its maiden flight on June 6, 2002.
Till now 33 test flights have taken place. To accelerate the pace
of development and flight trials, 5 more prototype vehicles PV1-PV5
are being built. The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is planned to
be inducted into Air Force after the initial operational clearance
Agni I, a single
stage solid propelled missile having a range of 800 kms was test
fired in January this year and also last year. The range fills
the gap between Prithvi and the Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile.
This missile can be fired from both rail or road missile launchers.
In developing tanks,
the DRDO’s role has been is commendable. Mention may be made of
Arjun. The Army has ordered 124 state-of-the-art Main Battle Tank
– Arjun developed indigenously by the DRDO. The first two tanks
are expected to roll out from the production line by March 2003
from the Heavy Vehicles Factory Avadi in Chennai.
Tank Ex, which integrated
the turret of Arjun with the lightweight chassis of T-72, has
been evaluated successfully in-house and exhibited to the Army
and public during DEFEXPO 2002.
story is the Pinaka. It is an Area Weapon System and has undergone
confirmatory user trials successfully in July last year. The System
has met users’ requirements for accuracy and consistency. The
PINAKA has the capability of firing in a single salvo 12 rockets
in less than 40 seconds with a range of 38 kms.
The Tenth Five Year
Plan of the DRDO has been prepared with a high degree of ‘User
focus’ and thrust on ‘deliverable-to-Users’. Some of the highlights
include the upgraded 45 km range of the PINAKA system, 100 km
range multiple barrel rocket and fuel-air explosive reactive armour,
Air -to- Air Missile ASTRA and vertically launched TRISHUL and
the longer range Sonar system.
Thrust will be given
to develop a high power propulsion system, high speed torpedo
system, underwater ranges, naval stealth technology and self -propelled
mine and mobile decoys. Due emphasis will be given to developing
protective equipment for the Army at high altitude, anti-G suit,
aircrew ensemble for nuclear, biological and chemical protection
and ready-to- eat food.
One major concern
of the DRDO has been the availability of scientific talent. In
the recent past certain initiatives have been taken in this direction.
The DRDO has undertaken a recruitment drive through the newly
adopted talent search scheme and campus interviews. The results
have been fairly encouraging. The department has been successful
in drawing fresh graduates from the IITs and RECs. The total intake
during 2002 has almost doubled at 771 as compared to 437 in 2000
and 431 in 2001.
To enhance the availability
of research opportunities to young scientists and researchers
under the Extra- Mural Research Scheme, 60 new projects worth
over Rs. 25 crore have been approved this year. These include
three Memoranda of Collaboration with the Indian Institutes of
Technology, Kharagpur and Chennai and Indian Institute of Science,
An initiative has
been undertaken to strengthen technological ties with academia
and the Indian industry. About 200 technologies have been jointly
identified for the private sector to go for either joint development,
production or for civilian spin-offs. This year alone over 16
technology transfers have been effected from various laboratories
to the industry.(PIB Features)