India's DRDO Looks Back On A Year

India's DRDO holds its annual awards ceremony tomorrow for technology excellence. The organisation released the following feature today, listing its achievements. Here it is in full:

DRDO has made many significant achievements during the recent past, including the last year. Many important systems were inducted/accepted by the services. The production value of systems based on technologies developed by DRDO (inducted/accepted/orders placed) during the past one decade is well over Rs.1,10,000 crores.

Agni-III, the 3500 km range ballistic missile was successfully launched with user’s participation. Training flights were held by the users for various missiles that are already inducted. These included two flight tests each of Agni–I, Agni–II and Dhanush (from naval ships) and five flights of Prithvi II (P– II). Orders worth over Rs. 25,000 crores for surface-to-air missile AKASH have been placed by the users. These include 8 squadron for IAF and 2 regiments for the Army. Successful flight tests of endo-atmospheric interceptor for 2,000-km class target were carried out. Each flight led to a direct target hit and disintegration of the target. Capabilities of NAG, the third generation anti-tank missile, which is a vehicle mounted system was demonstrated in a series of user trials. Advanced versions of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, the only one of its kind in the world, were developed and flight-tested. Thus, BrahMos block II with target discrimination precision strike capabilities was test-fired. Similarly, BrahMos block III with capability for steep diving from high altitudes and high maneuvers at multiple points during supersonic flight. Development of advanced missile systems is a continuous effort and requires systematic development of more and more advanced technologies. RLG based Inertial Navigation System was developed, qualified and tested. Active Radar Seeker for advanced missions was developed. A fibre optics gyro was successfully developed and tested on board.

In the area of aeronautics, Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) concluded its extensive flight tests including weapon trials, dropping of bombs, jettisoning drop tanks and night flights; leading to its Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) on 10th January, 2011. Over 1,640 flights covering a period of over 969 hours have been completed by Tejas Mk.1. The first prototype of LCA Navy was rolled out and its induction tests were concluded. In tune with changing war of scenario, major thrust has been given to develop unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Successful flight trials of RUSTOM-1, a UAV with endurance of 14 hours and altitude ceiling of 8,000 meters demonstrated the capabilities for automated/remotely piloted landing/ take-off and associated technologies. NISHANT, another UAV developed by DRDO was ready for induction by the Army. A medium sized aerostat based platform was developed for surveillance applications. A novel method was developed and flight-tested for an in-flight structural monitoring of the manned as well as unmanned aircraft structures. The scheme was flight tested on a NISHANT UAV. Besides, over 100 test flights of a 3,000 gram Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) designed and developed by DRDO were carried out. A laser seeker kit SUDARSHAN for 1,000-pound bombs was developed and initial demand for significant number of seekers kits has been received from the users. Major milestones in the indigenous development of fighter aircraft engine was achieved with the completion of “Official Altitude Testing” (OAT) of Kaveri Gas Turbine Engine for simulated operating conditions. Subsequently, the flights of Kaveri engine were successfully carried out on a Flying Test Bed (FTB) proving the technological capability and maturity of the indigenous efforts. This is the first time that an indigenously developed gas turbine engine for fighter aircraft has been flown on a FTB board. DRDO has developed expertise in the field of testing and certification for various components sub-systems and systems as well as complete airborne platforms. Thus, Initial Operational Clearance of LCA and Advanced Light Helicopter Mk.3 were major activities in this area.

Advanced Active-cum-Passive integrated sonar system HUMSA NG was designed, developed and installed on various ships of Indian Navy. Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) capable of navigation was demonstrated at sea. A carbon dioxide curtailment System for submarines was designed and developed. The system has been accepted by the user. SANJEEVANI Mk.2, a device designed and developed to locate victims trapped under the debris was handed over to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Kerala Govt. Fire Services.

An advanced facility was created to undertake full scale processing of large rocket motors. The facility was commissioned and the casting of various motors commenced. Development of PINAKA – multi barrel rocket launcher system was achieved with the successful transfer of technology to production agencies, two regiments of PINAKA (worth Rs 1300 crores) have been raised by Army which is likely to place orders for another two regiments. The transfer of Technology (ToT) for multimode grenade was completed, for which Army has placed an order for 10 lakh grenades. Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) for INSAS and AK-47 rifle was introduced into service with order for 10,000 Launchers. The state-of-the-art microcontroller based system Instant Fire Detection & Suppression System (IFDSS) BMP-2/2K developed for providing protection against fire to the troops & engine compartment, was accepted by the Army. Production order worth Rs. 168 crores has been received.

MBT Arjun Mk.1 was successfully inducted in the Army and two regiments of Arjun Main Battle Tank have been raised. A Carrier Command Post Tracked (CCPT) vehicle was accepted by the Army for induction. A modified Armoured Amphibious Dozer (AAD) completed its user trials. User trials of remotely operated vehicle (ROV DAKSH) were successfully carried out and LSP order for 20 numbers is being executed. Design of Snow Gallery for protection of personnel and equipment from avalanches and design of Instrumented Composite Tower for studies on avalanches were completed.

In the field of electronics and electro-optics, many systems were inducted/accepted by the services. 3D medium range surveillance radar - ROHINI and its naval variant REVATHI were inducted. 3D low-level light weight radar - Aslesha (for IAF) as well as Bharani (for Army) was accepted by the user. The engineered version of upgraded Weapon Locating Radar (WLR – Swathi) developed by DRDO was realized by the production agency. The electronic warfare system SAMYUKTA (naval variant) and SUJAV were inducted. Orders have been received for the Combat Net Radio (CNR) with anti-jamming features. A holographic sight for rifles/carbines was developed for aiming in closed quarter battle role and was accepted by the users.

Even with the most advanced weapon systems, the man behind machine is the most crucial factor in winning the war. The Life Sciences laboratories of DRDO continued to develop technology to maximize the operational efficiency of our soldiers and provide them with adequate support and protection. Some of the major achievements are highlighted. Three mobile laboratories for nuclear, biological and chemical defence were handed over to the user and rigorous training was imparted to them. An upgraded first-aid kit for protection against chemical and biological agents as well as the nuclear radiation were accepted by the services. Technology for producing DRDO developed kits for detection of swine flu was transferred to the production agency. The Combat Free Fall (CFF) protection system to meet the requirements of high altitude paratrooper’s mission requirements was designed developed and is under limited series production. A Submarine Escape Set (SES) for escape from an abandoned submarine from depths of 100m was designed and developed. Navy has projected a requirement of over 400 suits. Greenhouses were established at power plant locations such as Siachen Base camp, Chushul, Battalik etc and an average of 1400 kg vegetables of high nutritive values were produced in each greenhouse by standardizing the practices and procedures. About 5000 MT of vegetables are locally grown for meeting Army’s requirements A Computerized Pilot Selection System (CPSS) was designed, developed and accepted by the Air Force. Series production of systems for deployment at all the Air Force Selection Boards of the IAF is underway. Yoga Training Modules have been developed for toning up cardio-respiratory, respiratory, endocrine and nervous systems to maintain optimum physical fitness and mental health of troops deployed at high altitude extreme climates. Yoga training was provided to over 2000 personnel who were to be deployed at Siachen Glacier. MoU has been signed with Indian Railways for joint development of Biotoilets to be installed in rail coaches. Biotoilets have been installed in Lakshadweep Islands and NE region of India for safe disposal of human waste and MoUs signed with Indian Railways & Min. of Urban Development for installation in rail coaches & homes. MoU with Ministry of Urban Development is under process for joint development of biotoilets and their installation under mass civilian program.

Advanced materials have been always at the core of weapon systems and military hardware. Significant milestones were achieved in this critical area. A low-alloy steel “DMR-1700” with ultrahigh strength and high fracture toughness was developed as a cost effective replacement of 250 grade maraging steel. The alloy was successfully proven by successful demonstration in the intended application. A 500 ton per annum capacity titanium sponge plant based on DRDO technology was set up at Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML). The Plant was inaugurated by the Defence Minister on 27 Feb 2011. Light-weight composite armour for Mi-17-IV helicopter of IAF has successfully undergone integration and flight-trials. Technology developed for vacuum investment casting of gas turbine blades for Kaveri engine was extended for making high pressure turbine blades for land-based gas turbine for power generation. The runways at strategic locations often require rapid repairs. Many of these locations are in extreme
cold regions where the normal concrete does not set in easily. Technology for rapid repair of runways in cold regions was developed and successfully demonstrated at sub zero temperature.

A dedicated team of DRDO engineers executed highly specialized nature of Civil works at some of the most difficult and hazardous area within the stipulated time frame. Agreements for co-operation / co-development in frontline areas of science, technology and engineering were signed with several countries.


1. Silicon Trophy 2010:
Research Centre Imarat (Programme AD), Hyderabad in recognition of the outstanding achievements of the laboratory in developing a Ballistic Missile Defence System.

2. Titanium Trophy 2010: DL, Jodhpur in recognition of its contribution in the area of camouflage and low observable technologies for the Armed Forces and critical defence equipment.

3. Life Time Achievement award for 2010 has been conferred on Air Cmde R Gopalaswami (Retd), Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL) Hyderabad for the development of liquid rocket engines for missiles and multi-fold array of technology and management initiatives.

4. Technology Leadership Awards for:

Dr. V Bhujanga Rao, Distinguished Scientist & Director, Naval Science and Technology Laboratory (NSTL), Vishakhapatnam for outstanding contributions in the design, development and induction of indigenous underwater weapons, naval stealth products, underwater mines, fire control systems and autonomous underwater vehicles.

S Sundaresh, Distinguished Scientist and Chief Controller Research & Development. Shri S Sundaresh pioneered the development of complex, multi-disciplinary, technology intensive Integrated Fire Control System (IFCS) for the MBT Arjun through successful system integration, weapon system trials and user acceptance.

Dr G Malakondaiah, Distinguished Scientist and Director, Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), Hyderabad. Dr. G Malakondaiah has made valuable contributions in the development of speciality low-alloy steel DMR-1700 as a cost-effective replacement of maraging steels. AB class naval steels were indigenized under the leadership of Dr G Malakondaiah and are being used in the construction of the very first indigenously built aircraft carrier at the Cochin Shipyard.

Full Text of DRDO statement

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