The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is India’s premier research and development agency which comes under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, with a vision to empower India with cutting-edge defence technologies and a mission to make India self-reliant in critical defence technologies and systems, while equipping our armed forces with state-of-the-art weapon systems and equipment in accordance with requirements laid down by all the three Services. DRDO’s pursuit of self-reliance and successful indigenous development and production of strategic systems and platforms have given quantum jump to India’s military might, generating effective deterrence and providing crucial leverage.
In Today’s article, we are going to look at various achievements and milestones of DRDO. We will also look at its history and formation and the COVID 19 response
History Of DRDO
DRDO was formed in 1958, almost six decades ago from the amalgamation of the then already functioning Technical Development Establishment of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development & Production with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO). DRDO was then a small organisation with only 10 establishments or laboratories. Over the years, it has grown multi-directionally in terms of the variety of subject disciplines, a number of laboratories, and achievement.
Achievements and Milestones of DRDO
Over the years DRDO has achieved several crucial milestones that have established India as one of the mightiest nations in the subcontinent as well as in the world.
Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV)
On 7th September 2020, DRDO in a historic mission has taken a giant leap in indigenous defence technology and has achieved a significant milestone toward Sashakt Bharat and Atmanirbhar Bharat. DRDO successfully tested the Hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle also known as HSTDV. HSTDV is a technology demonstrator of upcoming hypersonic missiles. Currently, DRDO is working on BrahMos MK II which will be a hypersonic cruise missile.
Any object which travels with a speed greater or equal to the five times of the speed of sound ( Mach 5) is termed as Hypersonic. The HSTDV during its trials achieved a speed of Mach 6. Various aspects make hypersonic missile a crucial weapon technology that has the power to alter the outcome of the war, especially in naval warfare. At present, there is no operational naval air defence system that can intercept an incoming hypersonic cruise missile. the reaction time to intercept a hypersonic missile is very low thus kill probability increases drastically. Moreover, the humongous kinetic energy is enough to cripple a vessel like a tin can.
Perhaps the ballistic missiles are the most remarkable achievement of DRDO. Very few countries in the world have Nuclear-Capable Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICMB) and thanks to DRDO, India is one of them. DRDO has developed a wide variety of ballistic missiles systems ranging from short-range tactile missiles like Prahar to ICBM like Agni. Click here for more details.
India is one of the few countries in the world which has an indigenous nuclear submarine. A major portion of technologies and systems on board INS Arihant, India’s nuclear ballistic missile submarine has been developed by DRDO. Nuclear submarines have unlimited range. These are only limited by food supplies. Ballistic missiles submarine play a crucial role in nuclear deterrence and thus ensure peace. These submarines could be anywhere in the world, patrolling quietly in the unmeasured depths of the ocean.
Ingeniousness Fighter Aircraft- Tejas
Today India has the privilege to boast of its domestically developed 4th Generation combat aircraft Tejas. The credit goes to numerous agencies. DRDO is one of them. It has developed the majority of the subsystems onboard Tejas. (The most recent development is the onboard oxygen generator).
Air Defence Systems
The indigenous air defence systems are one of the most important contributions of DRDO. These systems include the Ballistic Missile Defense program, Akash Surface to Air Missiles (SAM), LRSAM, MRSAM, and QRSAM. Akash could be considered the backbone of Indian Air defence. These systems would soon replace the existing Pechora Sytems. LRSAM which is also known as Barak 8 is the primary SAM of modern Indian navy ships.
In modern air combat airborne early warning and control (AEW&CS ) systems play a vital role. AEW&Cs are the eyes in the sky. these prevent the enemy from using the terrain as cover. India is one of the very few countries in the world which have an AEW&C system of their own, thanks to DRDO.
DRDO has made India self-reliant in terms of Main Battle Tanks (MBT). Arjun MBT is one of the finest main battle tanks in the world, much superior to the T90s and T72s of the Indian army. Although the design is based upon German Leopard MK II MBT. Perhaps Leopard is the best MBT in the world due to its superior german engineering. Arjun’s Kanchan armor provides best in class protection. However, the Indian army is reluctant to induct due to their eastern philosophy of 3 member crew tanks (Autoloader), unlike western tanks which four-member crew(3+loader).
Rustom II UAV
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs are very important for surveillance nowadays. UAVs help in keeping the border safe. DRDO has made India self-reliant in this field as well by developing Rustom II.
Astra BVR missile
For a very long time, the Indian Air Force has depended upon Russian and French Air to Air missile. But now that era has come to an end. DRDO has developed indigenous air to air missile Asta. It will be soon inducted into the Indian Airforce. Technologically Astra is much superior to Russian R27 and R77 BVR missiles as well as much more reliable.
Radars, Sonars, and DRDO’s Endless List Of Inventions
DRDO has developed countless defence equipment. DRDO has developed radars such as Swati weapons locating radar and Arudra, Smart Anti airfield weapon and anti-radiation missiles for Airforce, sonars for the navy as LFDS, drones for all the three services, Mareech Decoy and Varunastra heavyweight torpedo for the navy, and much more
DRDO has been the leading agency for research and development in the country. It has been the hub of innovation and invention for the past six decades. During the battle against COVID 19 DRDO has made a significant contribution that we will discuss in the next article. DRDO has taken India one step closer towards complete self-reliance and is working relentlessly to make Atmanirbhar Bharat and Sashakt Bharat a reality.