Saturday, 26 January 2013

Leading defence scientist Dr Vijay Kumar Saraswat gets Padma Bhushan award

By Syed Akbar

Dr Vijay Kumar Saraswat, one of the greatest scientists of India with more than four decades of experience in defence research. Apart from being a scientist, he is a rare combination of an innovator, technologist and visionary. Dr Saraswat has been credited with authority in indigenous development of variety class of Missiles like Ballistic Missiles, Cruise Missiles, Anti-Tank Missiles and is principal architect behind the first ever BMD development program in India by spearheading major technology breakthroughs in the areas of missile defence systems.

Born at Gwalior on 25 May 1949, Dr Saraswat completed his engineering education in Gwalior and then went to IISc Bangalore for Masters Degree in Engineering and Ph.D from Osmania University.

During the last 30 years, he actively supported the development of the engineering profession in India and stimulated public interest the potential value of self-reliance in Defence Research in a wide variety of engineering applications. His initiatives and drive have made India self reliant and placed the nation under the spotlight in the global arena.

He developed a highly successful 30 Tonne LP Engine for aerodefence applications. His contribution towards successful induction of indigeneously developed surface-to-surface missile PRITHVI Weapon system - PRIDE OF THE NATION and its variants like DHANUSH with extended range intro armed forces, made Govt of India to honour him with the prestigious national award of PADMASHRI in 1998. With the recent successes of long range missile AGNI-5 and AGNI variants, ASTRA, SHOURYA, PRAHAAR, NAG, AKASH, Dr Saraswat’s dream has come true that today, nation can boast of reaching any shores in the world with the nuclear capable missiles with different strike ranges demonstrating the self-reliance of our Nation.

His technological capabilities coupled with managerial excellence have led to realization of two new missiles Exo and Endo atmospheric interceptor systems along with other BMD elements viz Radars, Command, Control, Communication, Computers & Intelligence (C4I) systems and the integration of battle management resources in a record time. The successive interception of incoming target missiles at Exo and Endo atmospheres demonstrated during the last six years are a testimony to his dedicated untiring efforts and exploitation of limited technological resources. This success made India join the select nations that have the capability to develop BMD systems and the only nation that has achieved the Exo atmospheric intercept other than USA who has been spending billions of dollars on missile defence

Dr. VK Saraswat has built “Strategic Communication Network” bringing high degree of Redundancy, Robustness and Reliability through multiple layers covering command hierarchy. Under his leadership, missiles have been made available to Strategic Force Command as Vectors.

Development of new technologies which are critical under MTCR viz., Ring Laser Gyros, Fibre Optic Gyros, Electro-Hydraulic Servo Valves, Electro Mechanical Actuation System, MEMS Technology for Inertial Sensors have been realized with the rigorous efforts of Dr Saraswat. Vision of Dr Saraswat lead to initiate the programmes on Cyber Security, Directed Energy Weapons, future Materials, Space based surveillance & Security system, Nano Technologies, Low Intensity Conflict and NBC Products, Bio defence and Silicon Photonics development during the past two years.

Dr Saraswat set up the State-of the-Art facilities consisting of 100 Class Clean Rooms, Optical Processing Systems, Vacuum Units micro machining and precision manufacturing systems and high end assembly integration and testing equipments overcoming all odds of export controls including creation of an excellent industry base to support defence research. Dr Saraswat’s vision and efforts towards achieving technological self-reliance paved the way not only for development of technological systems but also generated employment opportunities and for economic development of the regions Presently, the Indian industry has graduated from the status of ‘component level’ fabricators to ‘system level’ manufacturing agencies for the defence sector.

Dr Saraswat was honored with numerous accolades during his entire career namely Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Award from Indian Science Congress (2011); Lifetime Achievement Award by Ramakrishna-Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi; Prof Jai Krishna Memorial Award by Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE); Dr Y Nayudamma Memorial Gold Medal for the year 2011 by AP Science Congress; Jawaharlal Nehru S&T Award (2009) by Govt of Madhya Pradesh; FICCI Annual Award; ARYABHATA Award (2011) from Astronautical Society of India; National Aeronautical Prize (1998); Dr Y Nayudamma Memorial Award

The Times Magazine of United States (17 Sep 2007) described Dr Saraswat as an Innovator working on New Technologies which include development of Propulsion System to accelerate to Mach 8 speed, SCRAMJET and AVATAR (Aerobic Vehicle for Advanced Trans Atmospheric Research) at low cost.

India Today (27 Dec 1999) described Dr VK Saraswat as Rocket Scientist and Missile Man II, after Dr APJ Abdul Kalam under the Title “Faces of the Millennium Sciences”

Dr Saraswat received many honorary degrees from many Indian universities and is a Fellow of numerous scientific societies, including Indian national Academy of Engineering, Aeronautical Society of India, Astronautical Society of India, Institution of Engineers, Systems Society of India, Society for Shock Wave Research and AP Akademi of Sciences; Life Member of Indian Science Congress Association and Instrumentation Society of India and Chairman of Combustion Institute (Indian Section). He has been elected as President of Aeronautical Society of India.

He was the Chief Controller R&D (Missiles & Strategic Systems) and Programme Director for Air Defence at DRDO from the year 1996-2009 before being appointed as Secretary Dept of Defence R&D, Scientific Adviser to Raksha Mantri and Director General to lead India's Defence Research & Development Organisation. In addition, Dr Saraswat is also the Chairman of Governing Council of Defence Institute of Aadvanced Technology, Pune and Motilal Nehru National Inst of Technology, Allahabad; Member of Advisory Council of BHEL R&D and Member of Scientific Advisory Committee to Cabinet under the chairmanship of Honble Prime Minister of India.

Under his leadership, DRDO has transformed from a technology importer to a pioneer in providing integrated technology and process solutions on weapon delivery platforms. The principle of striving for greater-self-reliance in technology while instilling team spirit has been his motto. Dr Saraswat laid the Technology Roadmap for development of future technologies.
During the last three years, Dr Saraswat’s innovative leadership achieved - induction of first nuclear powered submarine INS ARIHANT; induction of VARUNA EW System; induction ofDIVYADRISHTI (EW software) into Services; TEJAS (Light Combat Aircraft) have Initial Operational clearance and Naval version has been rolled out after its successful demonstration; NAG(Anti Tank Missile) complete User Trials; ASTRA (Air-to-Air Missile) complete aerodynamic configuration trials; Maiden flight test of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles RUSTOM;; Induction of MBTsand PINAKA launchers; and successful launch of PRAHAR. He has guided NAG (Anti-Tank Missile) complete User Trials; ASTRA (Air-to-Air Missile) complete aerodynamic configuration trials; Successful launch of Under water Missile SHAURYA; Development of guided Glide Bomb with extended range; development of System on Chip for missile and EW applications; demonstration of RUSTOM-I; Initiated development of Surveillance Systems, Cyber Security, Nano Technologies; Development of LIC & NBC Technologies to support Security & Paramilitary forces and Induction of DIVYADRISHTI (EW software) into Services. Production of first lot of Titanium Sponge; Supply of Oleoresin Grenades, Plastic Bullets, Mini UAV NETRA, Laser Dazzlers, ROV DAKSH, Explosive Detection Kits, Multi-mode Hand Grenades, and Combo Rations for Low Intensity Conflicts; Solar Powered Modular Green Shelters

Most recently Dr Saraswat while taking our defence capabilities to greater heights brought new dimension to the national defence scenario through successful test firing of AGNI-5 an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile which has become Game Changer. Maiden success of LRSAM developed under Joint Venture with Israel is another significant achievement under his leadership.

Dr Saraswat’s recent research initiatives have taken shape into establishment of Research & Innovation Centre- RIC at IIT Madras Research Park – to focus on innovation &Research in coordination with Academia and MILIT- dedicated to training on S&T needs of officers of MoD; CERT- DRDO with the aim of reporting, auditing and handling emergency response of Information Security Incidents; CHESS with the mandate of development of High Energy Laser and Microwave devices aimed at futuristic requirements and is envisaged to become a cutting edge technology development center; and finally establishment of Kyrgyz-Indian Mountain Bio-Medical Research Centre at Kyrgyzstan. In order to advance economic development opportunities, Accelerated Technology Assessment and Commercialization (ATAC) Programme in association with FICCI has been started with a motto to bring the DRDO developed products into market for civilian applications.

Bio-Digesters for Railways and Odisha Govt for rural development and Launch of AAHAR programmes have gained larger interests which are aimed at providing DRDO developed food products for the lowest strata of Society as part of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Guiding 8 PhD Students. He has number of papers at his credit published in various journals at national and international level.
Dr Saraswat made a unique contribution to the society, for upgradation of technology in select areas, in popularizing defence research, by giving a series of lectures on Critical technological areas to Scientific community, academia, researchers and Students and providing them an insight on various scientific theories and applications. The new international airport and Aerospace SEZ at Hyderabad are a testimony of his initiatives and able guidance through AeSI since 2002.

Dr Saraswat’s rigorous efforts as Chairman Combustion Institute, led to establishment of Advanced Combustion Research Centers at IISc and IIT(M). His initiatives on research in Fuel Cell Technologies have made good progress and soon will have technologies for commercial usage.
Degree of Doctor of Science was conferred upon him by more than 15 Universities including NIT Surat and Andhra University, Visakhapatnam in recognition of his outstanding contributions towards development of Science & Technology in Aerospace and Defence fields.

1 comment:

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