Sunday, 16 November 2008

DRDO Golden Jubilee: The Next 50 Years


November 16, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 15: The successful test-fire of Shourya missile earlier this week has pushed India into a special league of nations with the most modern weaponry and striking power. It's indeed kudos to the scientific brain power of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, which is currently celebrating its golden jubilee year.
Shourya is just another feather in the cap of the DRDO. In the last five decades DRDO has indigenised technologies through constant research and improvement. The US imposed sanctions did not deter it from going ahead with its mission to make India a superpower.
Apart from developing the world lightest combat aircraft, the LCA, the laboratories attached to the DRDO have perfected the art of missile technology. They have also established India's superiority in electronic warfare systems by developing the state-of-the-art EW systems that would fool the enemy aircraft and missiles.
The Agni series of missiles have made India self-sufficient in defence
system. The Agni 5, under development, will have a range as far as 5,000 km, capable of hitting targets even in Europe. The DRDO is also planning to develop and produce super hypersonic missile systems that would fly quite low with super speed, seven to eight times the speed of sound. Shourya missile flew at five times the speed of sound. The next generation of missiles is an improvement over Shourya technology.
The DRDO was formed in 1958 from the amalgamation of the then already functioning Technical Development Establishment of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development and Production with the Defence Science Organisation. The DRDO was then a small organisation with 10 establishments or laboratories. Over the years, it has grown multi-directionally in terms of the variety of subject disciplines, number of laboratories, achievements and stature.
Today, DRDO is a network of more than 50 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.
It is now 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 aircraft, radars and electronic warfare systems are on hand and significant achievements have already been made in several such technologies, according to DRDO.
The thrust areas include integral ram rocket engine, multi-target tracking capability, homing guidance using seeker and networking of radars.
The Agni series of missiles, brainchild of former President and eminent defence scientist DR APJ Abdul Kalam, gave India an edge over its neighbours. Agni is an intermediate range ballistic missile. Agni-I used solid propulsion booster and a liquid propulsion upper stage, derived from Prithvi, essentially to prove the re-entry structure, control and guidance.
The strap-down inertial navigation system adopts explicit guidance, which has attempted for the first time in the world. It uses all carbon composite structure for protecting payload during its re-entry phase.The DRDO has also developed, though in association with Russia, BrahMos, which is a supersonic cruise missile and can be used against ship and land targets. It has a range of up to 300 kms. The missile is
uniquely configured for installing in ships, submarines and aircraft and on ground vehicles.
Another missile, Prithvi, has higher lethal effect compared to any equivalent class of missiles in the world. Prithvi is a unique missile today having manoeuvrable trajectory and high level capability with field interchangeable warheads. This system is now being configured for launching from ship, increasing its capability as a sea mobile system.

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