DRDO: Providing the technological edge to the Indian defense

Indian Air Force Lakshya PTA.

Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) works under Department of Defence Research and Development of Ministry of Defence. DRDO dedicatedly working towards enhancing self-reliance in Defence Systems and undertakes design & development leading to production of world class weapon systems and equipment in accordance with the expressed needs and the qualitative requirements laid down by the three services. DRDO is working in various areas of military technology which include aeronautics, armaments, combat vehicles, electronics, instrumentation engineering systems, missiles, materials, naval systems, advanced computing, simulation and life.

DRDO was formed in 1958 from the amalgamation of the then already functioning Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP) with the Defence Science Organization (DSO). DRDO was then a small organization with 10 . Today, DRDO is a network of more than 50 laboratories which are deeply engaged in developing defense technologies covering various disciplines, like aeronautics, armaments, electronics, combat vehicles, engineering systems, instrumentation, missiles, advanced computing and simulation, special materials, naval systems, life sciences, training, information systems and agriculture. Presently, the Organization is backed by over 5000 scientists and about 25,000 other scientific, technical and supporting personnel. Several major projects for the development of missiles, armaments, light combat aircrafts, radars, electronic warfare systems etc are on hand and significant achievements have already been made in several such technologies establishments or laboratories. Over the years, it has grown multi-directionally in terms of the variety of subject disciplines, number of laboratories, achievements and stature.

Some major contributions to strengthen the IAF include, i)The DRDO is responsible for the ongoing Light Combat Aircraft program. A 4.5th generation jet fighter, the LCA is intended to provide the Indian Air Force with a modern, Fly by wire, multi-role fighter, as well as develop aviation industry in India.

ii)The DRDO provided key avionics for the Sukhoi Su-30MKI program under the "Vetrivel" program.

iii)The DRDO is part of the Indian Air Force's upgrade programs for its MiG-27 and Sepecat Jaguar combat aircraft upgrades, along with the manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. iv)The DRDO has also developed two unmanned aerial vehicles- the Nishant tactical UAV and the Lakshya Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA).

The LCA in formation flight.DRDO Nishant Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

In the area of missile systems, the DRDO has made some amazing contributions to the Indian defense forces by the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP).The IGMDP was launched by the Indian Government to develop a local missile design and development ability, and manufacture a range of missile systems for the three defence services.The IGMDP has seen significant success in its two most important constituents- the Agni missile and the Prithvi missile systems, while two other programs, the Akash SAM and the anti-tank Nag Missile are still in development. The Trishul missile, a program to develop a tri-service short range SAM has faced persistent problems throughout its development, and is likely to be shut down unless the Indian Air Force places orders for the system.

Prithvi missile.The Agni-II missile

Akash SAM and Nishant UAV in the background.The Brahmos supersonic cruise missile

The Prithvi, Agni, Akash and Brahmos missiles.

DRDO, BEL and the Indian Navy have developed and productionized a range of Sonars and related systems for the Navy's frontline combat ships. These include the APSOH (Advanced Panoramic SOnar Hull mounted), HUMVAD (Hull Mounted Variable Depth sonar) and the HUMSA(follow on to the APSOH series; the acronym HUMSA stands for Hull Mounted Sonar Array) sonars, Nagan Towed Array Sonar, Panchendriya Submarine sonar and fire control system, sonobuoy Tadpole and its airborne signal processor Simhika.Other sonars such as the airborne sonar Mihir, are in trials, whilst work is proceeding apace on "New Generation" sonars. Sonars may be considered one of DRDO's most successful achievements, with the work begun under the leadership of a young Naval officer decades back. Today, the Indian Navy's most powerful ships rely on Indian made sonars. The standard fit for a frontline Naval ship would include the HUMSA-NG (New Generation) hull mounted sonar, a HUMVAD variable depth sonar and the Nagan towed array sonar. The Mihir, is a dunking sonar meant for use by the Naval ALH, working in conjunction with its Tadpole sonobuoy. The Panchendriya is in production for the Kilo class submarine upgrades. Some ships, such as the INS Beas field a mix of local (HUMSA and HUMVAD) and imported sonars (towed array), till the local towed array was developed.


Research and Development in Other areas: DRDO has worked extensively high speed computing given its ramifications for most of its defence projects. These include supercomputers for computational flow dynamics, to dedicated microprocessor designs manufactured in India for flight controllers and the like, to high speed computing boards built around Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) components, similar to the latest trends in the defence industry.Starting with a modest design aim, the DRDO has steadily increased its radar development footprint across a range of systems. The result has been substantial progress in India's ability to design and manufacture high power radar systems of its own design and with locally manufactured components and systems. The path began with the development of short range 2D systems (Indra-1) and has now extended to high power 3D systems intended for strategic purposes (LRTR). Several other projects span the gamut of radar applications, from airborne surveillance (AEW & C) to firecontrol radars (land based, and airborne). The key aim, as far as DRDO is concerned, is self reliance, both in terms of design as well as manufacture. In this respect, the DRDO has built up a network of suppliers from across India who assist it on these projects.

All this apart, the DRDO has been instrumental in the development of combat vehicles and other engineering feats of marvel including artillery machines, rocket launchers, armaments etc. Given below are some pictures of these:

Pinaka rocket launcher.Insas Assault Rifle

Armoured personnel carrier for para military forces.

The Pinaka rocket launcher and the INSAS assault rifle.



This is really quite wonderful and inventive. Thanks for the reply!