Defense Research and Development Organization Defense Research and Development Organization


  • Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defense, Government of India.
  • DRDO works with a vision to empower India to achieve a state of self-reliance in state-of-the-art and critical defense technologies and systems and equips our armed forces with state-of-the-art weapon systems and equipment as per the requirements laid down by the three services.
  • Presently Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy is the chairman of DRDO.

Origin and Development

  • DRDO was established in the year 1958 by combining the Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army with the Defense Science Organization (DSO) and the Directorate of Technical Development and Production (DTDP). was done later.
  • DRDO is presently a group of 52 laboratories engaged in various areas of defense technology such as aeronautics, weapons, electronics, combat vehicles, engineering systems, instrumentation, missiles, advanced computing and simulation, special materials, naval systems, life sciences, training, information Working in systems and agriculture.


  • To produce, design, develop and lead state-of-the-art sensors, weapon systems, platforms and allied equipment for the country's security services.
  • To provide technological solutions to the services for optimizing combat effectiveness and promoting the welfare of soldiers.
  • To develop infrastructure and committed quality manpower and strengthen indigenous technology base.

Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP)

  • The idea of its establishment was given by the famous scientist Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
  • Its objective was to achieve self-reliance in the field of missile technology.
  • The need to develop five missile systems under this program was recognized keeping in mind the requirements of different types of missiles by the Defense Forces.
  • The IGMDP was formally approved by the Government of India on 26 July 1983.
  • It has brought together the country's scientific community, academic institutions, R&D laboratories, industries and three defense services to shape strategic, indigenous missile systems.

The missiles developed under IGMDP are:

  • Earth - Short-range ballistic missile capable of surface-to-surface strikes.
  • fire Medium-range ballistic missile capable of surface-to-surface strikes.
  • trident - Short-range surface-to-sky missile.
  • Sky Medium-range missile capable of surface-to-sky strikes.
  • snake – Third generation anti-tank missile.
    • The Agni missile was initially conceived as a technology demonstrator project as a re-entry vehicle. It was later upgraded to a varied range ballistic missile. Dr. Kalam played a major role in the development and operation of Agni and Prithvi missiles.
    • On January 8, 2008, DRDO formally announced the successful completion of IGPDP after achieving the goal of making India self-reliant in the field of missile technology.

      India's missile system

      missile                                       Features
      • Single stage, solid fuel, medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM).
      • Using a solid propulsion booster and a liquid propulsion upper stage.
      • 700-800 kms. hitting distance.
      • Medium-range ballistic missile (IRBM).
      • 2000 kms. fire distance of more than
      • A two-stage medium-range ballistic missile (IRBM).
      • Supports a wide range of warhead configurations.
      • A range of over 2,500 km.
      • A two-stage missile propelled by solid propellant.
      • Can fire from Rode Mobile Launcher.
      • 3,500 km. More than a lethal distance.
      • It is equipped with indigenously developed ring laser gyro and composite rocket motor.
      • Three-stage solid fuel, indigenous inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM).
      • Capable of carrying a 1.5 ton nuclear warhead.
      • The latest and most advanced version in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine.
      • India will also join an exclusive club of countries such as the US, Russia, China, France and the UK that have inter-continental ballistic missile capability.
      • 5,000 km. fire distance of more than
      • Capable of an all-weather surface-to-sky strike, the short-range, quick-reaction missile is designed to counter low-level attacks.
      • It is a medium-range surface-to-sky missile with the capability to hit multiple targets simultaneously.
      • Capable of carrying more than one warhead.
      • High-energy solid propellant and ram-rocket propellant systems.
      • It is the third generation 'Fire and Forget', 4-8 km. It is an anti-tank missile with range capability of .
      • It has been indigenously developed as an anti-weapon which employs sensor fusion technologies for flight guidance.
      • HELINA is an air-to-surface variant of the Nag which is integrated with the Dhruv helicopter.
      • First indigenously manufactured ballistic missile under IGMDP.
      • surface-to-surface battle field missile.
      • 150 km. 300 km from Up to a range of firepower.
      • Supersonic cruise missile.
      • It has been developed as a private joint venture with Russia.
      • Multi-platform cruise can attack from a variety of platforms.
      • One of the world's fastest supersonic cruise missiles with a speed of Mach 2.5–2.8.
      • Once aimed, it does not require guidance from the control center, hence it is also called 'Fire and Forget' missile. 
      • Subsonic missile, a complement to BrahMos.
      • Capable of being launched from multiple platforms on land, sea and air.
      • 1,000 km. have access to.
      • Submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
      • Integrated with India's nuclear powered Arihant class submarine.
      • 700 kms. hitting distance.
      • The K-15 is a variant of the Sagarika.
      • Submarine- nuclear-capable missile.
      • Second, the goal of increasing India's attack capability.
      • Sea-based, short-range, liquid-propellant ballistic missile.
      • Naval version of Prithvi II.
      • Maximum 350 kms. hitting distance.
      • An air-to-air missile beyond visible-range using solid-propellant.
      • It is one of the smallest weapons developed by DRDO in terms of size and weight.
      • Active radar seeker for target detection.
      • Electronic counter-measurement capability.
      • 80 km. Designed to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft at supersonic speeds in head-on mode.
      • This is India's latest 150 km. It is a surface-to-surface missile with a range of .
      • Its primary objective is to bridge the gap between the un-guided Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher and the guided Prithvi missile variant.
      • It has high maneuverability, acceleration and accuracy.

      Issues before DRDO

      • During the year 2016-17, the Standing Committee on Defense expressed its concern over the inadequate budgetary support for the projects of DRDO.
      • The committee said that the share of DRDO in the total defense budget for the year 2011-12 was 5.79 percent, which came down to 5.34 percent in the year 2013-14.
      • The government's sluggish revenue commitments towards DRDO have left several major technology projects in limbo.
      • DRDO also suffers from lack of proper coordination with the armed forces due to inadequate manpower in critical areas.
      • Cost escalation and delay in project works have damaged the reputation of DRDO.
      • Even after 60 years of the establishment of DRDO, India still imports a large part of its defense equipment. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India accounted for 12 per cent of arms and defense equipment imports globally in the period 2013-17.
      • The list of successes of DRDO is brief – mainly Agni and Prithvi missiles. Its list of failures is very long. The Kaveri engine project has been delayed for 16 years and its cost has gone up by almost 800 per cent.
      • DRDO is just repairing World War II equipment instead of working on state-of-the-art technology.

      way ahead 

      • As per the suggestions made by the committee headed by P. Rama Rao, set up in February 2007 to conduct an external review of the agency, DRDO should be reorganized into a stronger organisation.
      • The committee also recommended setting up of a commercial arm of the organization to make it a profitable entity besides cutting down on delay in completion of projects.
      • Former DRDO chief VK. Saraswat has called for the formation of Defense Technology Commission as well as a greater role of DRDO in selecting the production partners for the products developed by the agency.
      • If necessary, DRDO should be able to select a competent partner company in the private sector from the very beginning.
      • DRDO is looking at long-term contracts with Indian information technology vendors such as Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS) to ensure software solutions for defense projects. DRDO is revamping its strategy of rewarding the lowest bidders on its short-term projects.
      • The move to outsource DRDO is a right move and will open up a lot of opportunities for Indian companies.
      • In its document “DRDO in 2021: HR Perspectives”, DRDO envisages an HR policy with emphasis on free, fair and fearless knowledge sharing, open book management style and participant management. This is a big step in the right direction.