“Weapons Industry would not survive solely on domestic market we need to export that would be possible only when we build state of the art technologies rather than be technology followers. We have to work on technologies that would be required 5 years from now only then we would be able to build state of the art technology” said Dr G Satheesh Reddy Chairman of Defense Research & Development Organisation (DRDO). Dr Reddy was giving a talk on “Emergence of Indigenous Defense Technologies” at the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) in New Delhi on National Technology Day on May 11. May 11 is celebrated as National Technology Day in order to commemorate the Pokhran nuclear tests which took place on this date in 1998, apart from this the indigenously built Hansa aircraft and Trishul missile were also tested on the same day.
He sounded optimistic that exports would grow in the future “Production orders for the indigenous DRDO Technologies today are more than 2.7 lakh crores and in the last 2-3 years lots of export orders are coming up. Industries are coming up in a big way and policies have been made very simple today for exporting so I am sure that exports would be increasing in the coming years.”
Dr Reddy explained how the situation for defense production has witnessed a sea change over the years “There was no ecosystem existing earlier there were handful of industries working in defense area most of them being suppliers. The scientists in DRDO had to do everything right from conceptualizing to handing over and maintenance of the weapon; this is not the situation today. Today industries have come up and matured about 1200 to 1500 industries are working with us (DRDO). Industry is doing research themselves, coming up with their own products and then supplying their work. Many of these industries are startups and a lot of youngsters are working to develop technology. Until a few years back youngsters were chiefly interested in Information Communication Technology (ICT) but a lot of them today are working in weapons manufacturing technologies today.”
Dr Reddy listed some of the major achievements of DRDO over the years “Missile and strategic systems is one important area where the country is self reliant. Radars are another area where we have become fairly self-reliant 10-15 years back we were dependent on imports today most of them are being indigenously developed. We are also developing Synthetic Aperture Radar for Digital, high power radars, long range radars; lots of industries for their manufacture have come up in this country. We are developing navigation systems including seekers; today we have the complete range of RF Seekers be it X band or a MMW we are developing them indigenously.”
He also listed some of the weapons which would soon be inducted into the armed forces “NAG missile which is an anti tank guided missile has been developed, it is in the advanced stages of induction. Advanced version of Akash, the Akash Mk II is being developed. Nirbhay subsonic Cruise missile is in the flight test phase, Astra air to air missile with a range of 70 kms is in the final stages of its development. Anti tank guided missile Nag has been converted as a helicopter launched anti tank guided missile its development trials are going on. Advanced towed artillery gun 155 mm gun with a range of 50 kms is currently in the trial process. Prahaar surface to surface missile is also going through trials. ”