Contributions of DRDO in Indian Defence

By Anurag Chawake

contributions of drdo in indian defence


Contributions of Defence Research and Development Organization in Indian Defence

Contributions of DRDO in Indian Defence – The Defence Research and Development Organization, DRDO, is India’s leading R&D defence organization. It was established in 1958 by the Directorate of Technical Development and Production in conjunction with the Defence Science Organization.

The organization is under the administration of the Defence Ministry of the Government of India. It was originally formed to boost the research, design and manufacture of military equipment. However, DRDO has, throughout its existence, designed thousands of products having military as well as civil applications.

The organization is responsible for the modernization of military infrastructure and has contributed enormously towards the overall progress of the nation. DRDO has over 52 laboratories actively working on the development of missiles, tanks, electronics and even mosquito repellents.




The main objective of the DRDO was to provide the Indian defence with an alternative source of high-end equipment apart from the international arms market. Over the years, the Indian military has looked forward to DRDO to provide them with indigenously developed weapons and other equipment.

Another important mission of the DRDO was to provide various technological solutions to the Defence services so they could improve the combat effectiveness of every military personnel.


History of DRDO

Established in 1958, the DRDO was initially treated as just another vendor to the Indian Army and Air Force. Since both organizations did not have to work on either creating or developing any technology, they looked up to DRDO to provide them with the same level of technology that was available in the international market.

But it was impossible to fulfil the institutions’ demands since DRDO was new to the industry. Since then, almost everything has changed and DRDO is now one of the biggest vendors of the Indian Defence Services. It has contributed greatly towards the development of India’s Nuclear Missile Program as well as the development of various other technologies.

The organization has partially shifted its role from weapons and technology manufacturer to that of a designer. In India, the role of the private organizations in ammunition and military equipment production is restricted severely.

Therefore, it is up to DRDO and the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) to manufacture the technology requested by the various defence services. It has played a crucial role in the development of the country’s overall defence infrastructure, providing competitive alternatives to the technologies that India’s defence forces required.


Achievements of DRDO

DRDO, in its 61 years of service, has come a long way and is now indispensable to the country’s defence needs. There are thousands of projects the organization has successfully delivered on.

It includes over 5,000 scientists who work under the Defence Research and Development Service and more than 25,000 people working as either technical, supporting or scientific personnel.

Here are some of the major projects the organization has delivered in the past years:


1. AGNI Ballistic Missiles

Capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, the AGNI Missiles are one of the most advanced missiles in the world. They comprise of Medium to Inter-continental range of missiles.

These missiles are so advanced that their Circular Error Probability, which is the error range of a missile within a circular radius is just 40 metres.

DRDO has developed five versions of the missile:

1. AGNI 1: Range 700-1250 km
2. AGNI 2: Range 2000 km
3. AGNI 3: Range 3500-5000 km
4. AGNI 4: Range up to 4000 km
5. AGNI 5: This is DRDO’s advanced version of an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile. It has a range of 5000-6000 km and can hit its target with a CEP of just 10 metres.



Developed in partnership with Russia, this is the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile to date. The short-range ramjet supersonic missile can be deployed on submarines, aircrafts ships and even on land. This makes them one of the deadliest missiles the human race has ever possessed. It can travel at a speed of Mach 2.8- Mach 3.0.

The land and ship versions of the missile are already deployed and the aircraft and submarine versions of the missile are in the testing phase. There are plans to integrate the BRAHMOS with the Su-30 MKI, which will make India the only country to carry supersonic missiles in all divisions of its defence force.



Throughout history, India was dependent on the international market to boost the capabilities of its Air Force. However, that is about to change since DRDO is working on a Generation 4 Light Combat Aircraft known as TEJAS.

It is a multi-role aircraft designed to boost the Indian Air Force’s firepower. The Tejas Mark 1 is set to mark its presence in the IAF soon.

Various technologies such as fly-by-wire flight control system, multi-mode radar, flat rated engine, relaxed static stability and a digital avionics system are to be integrated with the LCAs.

Work on 5th generation of LCAs such as the Mark-II and Mark-III has already begun. It is expected that they will bring on board various new-generation features such as stealth, advanced aerodynamic designs and the much-anticipated AESA radar.


4. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs):

The organization has successfully developed two UAVs by the names – LAKSHAYA and NISHANT. They will soon be inducted in every Indian force. It is already working on a long-range high altitude UAV capable of travelling large distances. Moreover, the next generation of these UAVs will have the ability to carry a variety of payloads.

It is expected that the new range of UAVs will have SATCOM links, which will allow them to be operated even beyond the line of sight.



The INSAS rifle is one of the most widely used rifles in the Indian Army. An abbreviation of Indian Small Arms System, it is not a gun but a family of guns similar to the renowned American M4 family.

It is the standard battle rifle for the Indian Army as well as the Paramilitary. A Light Machine Gun (LMG) was added to the family in 1998. The assault rifle is exported by various countries and is also used by the Royal Army of Oman.


6. Bio Toilets

The organization is actively working on over 530 projects, most of which have military applications. One of the biggest civilian projects the DRDO has undertaken is the installation of Bio-toilets which are now used in almost every Indian Railway.



The K-15 SAGARIKA is a ballistic missile which can be launched from a submarine with a range of 750 km. The missile can also be equipped with a nuclear warhead. A payload of up to 500 km can also be delivered with the missile.



Indigenously developed by the DRDO, ARIHANT is a class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. The submarine, developed for the Indian Navy, is one of the most important technological achievements of the organization. INS ARIHANT makes India the 5th country in the world to possess such technology.


9. Dhruv Helicopters

Built on the lines of the Tejas, the Dhruv Helicopters are a range of Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and was initiated in May 1979. It is a highly successful project and over 35 countries from all over the world have shown interest in the helicopters.

It is a 5-ton helicopter capable of performing multiple roles. One of the main reasons behind the success is its 15% lower cost per unit compared to the rest of the competition.



The NIRBHAY is DRDO’s subsonic cruise missile which can be launched under every weather condition. Developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment, the missile is complementary to BRAHMOS.

While the BRAHMOS has a range of 290 km, NIRBHAY can be used to take down targets over 1000kms. The missile starts like a rocket and can be optionally turned in to an aircraft using the foldable wings. Capable of delivering nuclear warheads, this missile can fly at a height of a tree, making it almost impossible for any radar to detect it.

NIRBHAY can be launched from land, air or sea and plans on integrating it with Sukhoi SU-30 MKI are already underway.

The Defence Research and Development Organization is undoubtedly one of the major pillars of the Indian Defence forces. The Indian Army, Navy and Airforce are all looking forward to the organization to help them get their hands on the latest technological innovations and advancements.

It is actively working on multiple projects which will help the country indigenously develop all the defence infrastructure it needs. DRDO is growing at a rapid pace and it will be interesting to see how it transforms India’s position at the global level.



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