The story started almost 4 decades ago when the political leadership of India decided to approve a project to make 5 different kinds of missiles for different purposes. The project was named as Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
The then PM late Smt. Indra Gandhi appointed former president of India late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam as the head of the project. Previously Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was the project director of the SLV-3 programs at ISRO, from where he was inducted into DRDL to lead this project in 1983.
Although this was a very major project its real importance came to sight only after its completion in 2008. The successful completion of the project brought such pride to India that can’t be explained in words. The Director of the project, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was given the title of “Missile Man of India” as a result. The Hard work of Dr. Kalam and his team brought him so much respect and honour that he was appointed as the 11th President of India with support from both the ruling and the opposition party.
The Five Missiles That Were Developed Under This Project IGMDP Are-
- PRITHVI (Short range surface-to-surface ballistic missile)
- AGNI (Intermediate-range surface-to-surface missile; initially it was conceived as a technology demonstrator in form of a re-entry vehicle, but later upgraded to a ballistic missile with different ranges)
- TRISHUL (Short range low-level surface-to-air missile)
- AKASH (Medium range surface-to-air missile)
- NAG (Third-generation anti-tank missile)
India’s defence research organization, DRDL (now DRDO) had mastered the technology of propulsion, navigation, and manufacture of aerospace materials by the 1980s. The advisers and scientists of the then government proposed to consolidate these technologies and the government approved the project.
After the initial flight trials of Prithvi and Agni missile in 1988 and 1989 respectively, the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) banned India, which restricted any other country to share any technology that can help India in its missile development program.
But the IGMDP team didn’t leave the hope and formed a consortium of DRDO laboratories, industries, and academic institutions to make components of the missile. It took time and a lot of extra work but the restlessness of those passionate scientists didn’t go in vain.
On 8 January 2008, DRDO announced the competition of IGMDP. By now, DRDO has successfully developed 3 variants of Prithvi, 5 variants of Agni, Trishul as a technology demonstrator, 2 variants of Nag are developed and another 2 are under development and 1 variant of Akash air defence system is developed while another one is under development.