Agni missile, Trishul missile, Nag Missile, Prithvi ballistic missile, Akash missile, Brahmos missile - we all have heard of these powerful missiles’. However it is also important to know – Who makes these missiles and how efficient these missiles are?
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is an Indian organization, headquartered in New Delhi which works under “Department of Defence Research and Development” of Ministry of Defence. It is entrusted with the responsibility of developing technology for use by the defence forces.
DRDO is dedicatedly working in various areas of military technology including armaments, aeronautics, electronics, missiles, combat vehicles, naval systems, instrumentation engineering systems, simulation, advanced computing, and life sciences with a goal to enhance self-reliance in Defence Systems. It focuses on the production of world class weapon systems & equipment and works to cater the needs and requirements of the defence forces.
DRDO was formed in the year 1958 by amalgamating then already functioning Technical Development Establishment and the Directorate of Technical Development and Production with the Defence Science Organization. At that point of time DRDO was a small organization and had only 10 laboratories all together.
With the passage of time DRDO emerged as a very big organization with over 50 establishments or laboratories. Years later in 1980 a separate Department of Defence Research and Development was formed which was later on entrusted with the responsibility of administering DRDO and its 50 laboratories or establishments.
As the Army and the Air Force themselves did not have any responsibility for designing or constructing the defence armaments and equipments, most of the time they tended to treat DRDO as vendor while they were being the customers.
1960 was a major stepping stone for DRDO when it started its very first major project known as “Project Indigo”. It was a project of SAM (surface-to-air-missiles). Though in later years Indigo was discontinued without having achieved full success yet it led to “Project Devil” and “Project Valiant” in the 1970s to develop short-range SAM and intercontinental ballistic Missile (ICBM).
DRDO has witnessed much success since its establishment. It has developed several major systems and critical technologies such as small arms, tanks and armored vehicles, aircraft avionics, artillery systems, sonar systems, missile systems, EW Systems, command and control systems and many more.
The former President of India- Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam joined DRDO in 1982. As a Director of DRDO Dr. Kalam did outstanding and remarkable job. It was under his leadership that DRDO has been able to make missiles such as Nag, Prithvi, Akash and Agni. Dr. Kalam gave new dimensions to DRDO and enriched India with massive defence equipments.
Despite all its success DRDO has always been amidst a lot of controversies. Its cost efficiency has always been in the gray area. Another major area of concern has been the inability of DRDO to involve the Armed Forces in developmental projects.
In 2009, The P Rama Rao committee was formed to revamp the organization. The committee mentioned that “the major cause for delays and failures of indigenous defence products is DRDO’s tendency to over-estimate its capabilities”.
The committee recommended to the government that DRDO should undertake all projects in the future on a joint developmental basis involving foreign partners to imbibe global standards. The committee also said that foreign help should be taken “without any reservations” in future projects.
In 2010, the defence minister A.K. Antony ordered for restructuring of the DRDO to give “a major boost to defence research in the country and to ensure effective participation of the private sector in defence technology”, he quoted in media. Establishment of a Defence Technology Commission with the defence minister as its chairman was advised as a measure to make DRDO effective.
Currently DRDO was a media staple of news when Agni ll missile was successfully launched from the Interim Test Range located at Wheelers Island off the Dhamara coast of Orissa. Agni ll has been indigenously designed by DRDO and is a surface-to-surface ballistic missile. 21 meter long Agni ll is often described as pride of India’s strategic arsenal. Prior to Agni ll two other missiles, namely Shourya and Prithvi ll were also successfully launched.
After these three successful ballistic missiles tests DRDO is getting ready to blast off the giant Agni-5 in December, 2011. It will blast off from the Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast and travel its full range of 5000 km to southern Indian Ocean. The Agni-5 missile will travel halfway to Antarctica indicating that it can reach to any target across the globe excluding America and Australia. Hence Indian defence will be definitely enhanced with its successful launch countering all the possible threats.
All the success of DRDO indicates that the scientists at DRDO have a high level of technological expertise and they can now be provide with more reliable products and systems. They are truly working very hard to push the country forward. The recent successes of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have projected a mighty image of India worldwide.
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