The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is the premier agency under the Department of Defense Research and Development in the Ministry of Defense.
It is charged with the military’s research and development, headquartered in Delhi, India. It was formed in 1958 by the merger of the Technical Development Establishment and the Directorate of Technical Development and Production of the Indian Ordnance Factories with the Defense Science Organization. The Defense Research & Development Service (DRDS) was constituted in 1979 as a service of Group ‘A’ Officers / Scientists. It is directly under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defense.
With a network of 52 laboratories that are engaged in developing defense technologies covering various fields, DRDO is India’s largest and most diverse research organization. The organization includes around 5,000 scientists belonging to the DRDS and about 25,000 other subordinate scientific, technical, and supporting personnel.
History And Achievements of DRDO
The DRDO was established in 1958 by combining the Defense Science Organization and some of the technical development establishments. A separate Department of Defense Research and Development was formed in 1980, which later administered DRDO and its almost 30 laboratories and establishments . Most of the time, the Defense Research and Development Organization was treated as if it were a vendor and the Army Headquarters or the Air Force Headquarters were the customers. Because the Army and the Air Force themselves did not have any design or construction responsibility, they tended to treat the designer of Indian industry at par with their corresponding designer in the world market. If they could get a MiG-21 from the world market, they wanted a MiG-21 from DRDO.
DRDO started its first major project in surface-to-air missiles (SAM) known as Project Indigo in the 1960s. Indigo was discontinued in later years without achieving full success.
Project Indigo led to Project Devil, along with Project Valiant, to develop short-range SAMs and ICBMs in the 1970s. Project Devil itself led to the later development of the Prithvi missile under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) in the 1980s.
IGMDP was an Indian Ministry of Defense program between the early 1980s and 2007 for the development of a comprehensive range of missiles, including the Agni missile, Prithvi ballistic missile, Akash missile, Trishul missile and Nag Missile.
In 2010, defense minister A. K. Antony ordered the restructuring of the DRDO to give ‘a major boost to defense research in the country and to ensure effective participation of the private sector in defense technology’. The key measures to make DRDO effective in its functioning include the establishment of a Defense Technology Commission with the defense minister as its chairman.
The programs which were largely managed by DRDO have seen considerable success with many of the systems seeing rapid deployment as well as yielding significant technological benefits. Since its establishment, DRDO has created other major systems and critical technologies such as aircraft avionics, UAVs, small arms, artillery systems, EW systems, tanks and armored vehicles, sonar systems, command and control systems and missile systems.