The Geopolitical scenario of the world is changing at an unprecedented rate. There is a cut throat competition between countries to become a super power. In this power-hungry world of varying ideology, every country is trying to build themselves a niche by becoming economically, strategically and technologically superior. In these times of rising cross border tensions and mushrooming of terrorism, self-reliance and modernization in the field of defense is indispensable. This military preparedness is incomplete without technological advancements. India stands tall being one of the few nations having indigenous technological supremacy. This has been made possible by the backbone of our defense forces, DEFENSE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATION, more commonly known as DRDO. With the moto of “balasyam mulam vigyanam” (Sanskrit shloka) i.e. the source of strength is science- drives the nation in peace and war. DRDO is determined to make our nation a self-reliant super power in terms of science and technology especially in the field of military technologies.
With a network of 52 laboratories engaged in developing defense facilities in various fields like aeronautics, armaments and combat system, missiles and strategic system, electronics, naval system, life science, microelectronic devices, computational system and cyber system (MED and COS), it is India’s largest research organization. The organization includes about 5000 scientists belonging to the defense research developmental services and 25,000 scientific, technical and supporting personnel under the supervision of Mr. G. Satheesh Reddy (Chairman). Minister responsible for it is Rajnath singh. (Minister of Defense).
In 1958 with the vision of empowering the nation with state-of-the-art indigenous defense technologies and system, DRDO was formed. Mr. Avinash Chander was then Director general of the organization. It was formed from the amalgamation of then functioning Technical Development Establishments (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the directorate of Technical development and production (DTDP) with The Defense Science Organization (DSO). Then it was a small organization with just ten laboratories. Over the years it has grown multidirectional in terms of subject disciplines, number of laboratories, achievements and statures. It started its first major project in surface to air missile known as Project Indigo in 1960s. Project Indigo was discontinued in later years without much success. After this DRDO took up project Devil and Project Valiant to develop short range SAM and ICBM in the 1970’s. Project Devil also lead to the development of the Pritvi missile under Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) in 1980’s. It was a part of Indian ministry of defense between early 1980’s and 2009 for the development of comprehensive range missiles including Agni missile, Pritvi Missile, Akash missile, Trisul missile, Nag missile. In 2010, defense minister A.K. Antony ordered the restructuring of the DRDO to give a major boost to it and ensure major participation of private sector in defense technologies. Light combat aircraft (Tejas), multi-barrel rocket launcher (Pinaka), air defense system (Aksh), a wide range of radars and electronic warfare system have given quantum jump to India’s military might, generating effective deterrence and providing crucial leverage.
DRDO is placed in second schedule of RTI act,2005 and is exempt from disclosure of information under section 24(1) except information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human right violations.
Since then DRDO has participated with different private and government organizations to provide the best to our defense system. In the field of aeronautics DRDO is responsible for ongoing light combat aircraft which is aimed at modernization of Indian air force and equip it with multirole fighters. DRDO to LCA DRDO has made substantial progression in the fields of avionics, flight control provided key avionic system Sukhoi su-30MKI. DRDO and HAL have partnered for the Indian air force’s upgrade programs for MiG-27 and sap cat jaguar combat aircraft. DRDO is working closely with HAL in programs like HAL Dhruva helicopter and the HAL HJT-36. Nishant and Lakshya are two unmanned air vehicles developed. In the field of armaments DRDO cooperates with state wonderance factories Board (OFB) for producing its items. DRDO has developed the INSAN rifle which has been adopted by the Indian army as its standard battle rifle and is in extensive service in paramilitary units and police forces. Chemical kit for the detection of explosives (CKDE) compact, low cost and heavy explosive detection kit is designed by DRDO. Other projects in the field of explosives include Explosive detection kit (EDK), RalDer-X, Indian CL-20 explosives. DRDO has a major role in developing the artillery system and ammunitions too. It is presently engaged in the development of the armament for the future IFV “Abhay”. DRDO has also developed Electronic counter measures (ECM) for both communication and non-communication radar. DRDO has also provided Indian army with Invincible tanks and armored vehicles that the army trusts on. For Indian navy DRDO has been of great help by not only building torpedoes and sonars but also helped in indigenization of various components and the development of warship grade steel in India.
DRDO has achieved many milestones. Now it has three main missions
- Design, develop and lead to production state-of-the -art sensors, weapon systems, platforms and allied equipment for our defense services.
- Provide technological solutions to the services to optimize combat effectiveness and to promote wellbeing of the troops.
- Develop infrastructure and committed quality manpower and build strong indigenous technology base.
DRDO has contributed in all aspects of design, development and research of highly capable weapon systems for navy, army, air forces. DRDO has also showcased the true spirit of ‘Atma nirbhar bharat’ by development of indigenous defense systems. DRDO always comes forward whenever the country is in need. When the country is suffering with corona pandemic DRDO has come to rescue of its citizen by developing sample collection kiosks, biodegradable masks, automatic sanitizer dispensing machine, equipment for sanitation of public places and most importantly DRDO has produced Ventilators which has been of great use to people. Summing up, DRDO is a premier institute of research and development which works tirelessly not only to make the life of soldiers simple but also to protect our citizens both from internal and cross border threats.
By Sunanda Pansari, Kalahandi, Odisha