History of Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO)

  • DRDO was formed in 1958.
  • From the amalgamation of the then already functioning Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP) with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO).
  • DRDO was then a small organization 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.
  • In 1960, Project Indigo to develop Surface-to-Air missiles was DRDO’s first major defense project, though it was discontinued.
  • Project Indigo led to Project Devil, along with Project Valiant, to develop short-range SAM and ICBM in the 1970s. Project Devil itself led to the later development of the Prithvi missile under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) in the 1980s.
  • Motto- “Balasya Mulam Vigyanam” – “The source of strength is science”
  • Headquarters- New Delhi, India

Functions of DRDO

DRDO is a network of more than 50 laboratories that are deeply engaged in developing defense technologies covering various disciplines:

  • Aeronautics, Armaments, Electronics, Combat Vehicles, Engineering Systems, Instrumentation, Missiles, Advanced Computing and Simulation, Special Materials, Naval Systems, Life Sciences, Training, Information Systems, and Agriculture

Several major projects for the development of missiles, armaments, light combat aircraft, radars, electronic warfare systems, etc are on hand and significant achievements have already been made in several such technologies.

DRDO’s pursuit of self-reliance and successful indigenous development and production of strategic systems and platforms such as:

  • Agni and Prithvi series of missiles;
  • Light combat aircraft, Tejas;
  • Multi-barrel rocket launcher, Pinaka;
  • Air defence system, Akash;
  • A wide range of radars and electronic warfare systems

All of these have given a quantum jump to India’s military might, generating effective deterrence and providing crucial leverage.

Challenges faced by Defence Research & Development Organisation

  • Inadequate budget support
  • The government is behind in revenue assignment to DRDO
  • Inadequate manpower in critical areas
  • Lack of proper synergy with armed forces
  • Cost escalation and delayed outputs from projects
  • The inadequacy in meeting the internal defence demands
  • There is also a Conflict of interest. Once a prototype is successfully developed, there are production agencies and users that have separate responsibilities for serial production, trials, and acceptance.

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