Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
- 02 Apr 2019
- 13 min read
- DRDO works under the administrative control of Ministry of Defence, Government of India.
- It is working to establish world class science and technology base for India and provides our Defence Services decisive edge by equipping them with internationally competitive systems and solutions.
- Dr G. Satheesh Reddy is the incumbent Chairman of DRDO.
Genesis & Growth
- DRDO was established in 1958 after combining Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP) with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO).
- Starting with 10 laboratories, DRDO has now grown to a network of 52 laboratories which are deeply engaged in developing defence 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 Organisation 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.
- Design, develop and lead to production state-of-the-art sensors, weapon systems, platforms and allied equipment for our Defence Services.
- Provide technological solutions to the Services to optimise combat effectiveness and to promote well-being of the troops.
- Develop infrastructure and committed quality manpower and build strong indigenous technology base.
Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP)
- IGMDP was brain child of renowned scientist Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
- It was intended to attain self-sufficiency in the field of missile technology.
- After keeping in mind the requirements of various types of missiles by the defense forces, the program recognized the need to develop five missile systems.
- The IGMDP formally got the approval of Indian government on July 26, 1983.
- It brought together the country’s scientific community, academic institutions, R&D laboratories, industries and the three defence services in giving shape to the strategic, indigenous missile systems.
The missiles developed under IGMDP are:
- Short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile – Prithvi
- Intermediate-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile – Agni
- Short-range low-level surface-to-air missile – Trishul
- Medium-range surface-to-air missile – Akash
- Third generation anti-tank missile – Nag
The Agni, which was initially conceived as a technology demonstrator project in the form of a re-entry vehicle, was later upgraded to a ballistic missile with different ranges. Dr. Kalam played a major role in the development and operationalisation of Agni and Prithvi missiles.
After achieving the goal of making India self-reliant in missile technology, DRDO on January 8, 2008, formally announced successful completion of IGMDP.
|Missile System of India|
Issues with DRDO
- The Standing Committee on Defence during 2016-17, expressed concerns over the inadequate budgetary support for the on going projects of DRDO.
- The committee notes that out of total defence budget, the share of DRDO was 5.79 per cent in 2011-12, which reduced to 5.34 per cent in 2013-14.
- Government’s lethargic revenue commitments towards DRDO have put major projects involving futuristic technology on hold.
- The DRDO also suffers from inadequate manpower in critical areas to the lack of proper synergy with the armed forces.
- Cost escalation and long delays have damaged the reputation of DRDO.
- Even after 60 years of DRDO formation, India still imports a large share of its defence equipments. In the period 2013-17, India is the world’s largest importer of defence equipment, accounting for 12% of the global total, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
- DRDO's list of successes is short- primarily the Agni and Prithvi missiles. Its list of failures is much longer. The Kaveri Engine is running late by 16 years and the cost has escalated by around 800 per cent.
- DRDO is big on promise and small on delivery. There is no accountability. Nobody is taken to task for time and cost overruns.
- In 2011, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) put a serious question mark on DRDO’s capabilities. "The organisation, which has a history of its projects suffering endemic time and cost overruns, needs to sanction projects and decide on a probable date of completion on the basis of a conservative assessment of technology available and a realistic costing system," its report stated.
- The CAG report also revealed that not all technologies developed by DRDO were suitable for use by the armed forces. The three services have rejected 70 per cent of the products developed at the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune, in the last 15 years costing Rs 320 crore because the products did not meet their standard and requirement.
- The technology development agency is also largely responsible for the fact highlighted by General V.K. Singh that 97 per cent of the army's air defence is obsolete.
- DRDO is just tinkering with World War II equipment instead of working on cutting-edge technology.
- Even if systems are acquired from abroad and DRDO is meant to service them, if it fails. This leaves critical gaps in national defence.
- DRDO should be restructured in a leaner organisation as suggested by the committee chaired by P. Rama Rao for external review of the agency in February 2007.
- The committee also recommended for setting up a commercial arm of the organisation to make it a profitable entity, besides cutting back on delays in completing projects.
- DRDO former chief V.K. Saraswat has called for the setting up of a Defence Technology Commission as well as a bigger role for DRDO in picking production partners for products developed by the agency.
- DRDO should be able to select a capable partner company from the outset, from the private sector if necessary.
- DRDO has taken some steps in the direction as it is considering long-term contracts with Indian information technology (IT) vendors such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) to build software solutions for defence projects, shifting its strategy of awarding deals to the lowest bidders on short-term projects.
- DRDO’s move to outsource is a right move and will open lot of opportunities benefiting the Indian companies.
- In Its document "DRDO in 2021: HR Perspectives’’, DRDO has envisaged a HR policy which emphasized on free, fair, and fearless Knowledge Sharing, Open book management style and Participative Management. This is a step in right direction.