DRDO plans three major projects this year

M. Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on November 20, 2017


The indigenous development of a field gun, first launch of ‘Nirbhay' (a long range missile) and first test flight of Agni-5 are three major initiatives ahead of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in 2011.

The controversial Bofors gun is the last imported field gun the armed forces have. The new Indian field gun will be an Industry-DRDO driven venture.

Already 4-5 industries have been identified for the project, according to Dr V.K. Saraswat, Chief of DRDO.

The gun in both versions (towed and self propelled) will take a few years to develop and would be a major project led by the domestic industry, he told newspersons on the sidelines of an event where a cooling system for radars developed by Hyderabad-based Hemair was handed over to the DRDO today.

The launch of the long-range, sub-sonic, cruise missile ‘Nirbhay', being developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bangalore and the RCI, Hyderabad is also expected to get into the flight trials mode this year. The third project is Agni-5, the beyond 5,000 km, long range ballistic missile, which will be flight tested in 2011, he said.

Israeli JV

Referring to the MRSAM (Medium range surface to air missile), being developed with Israel, Dr Saraswat said the DRDO and Israeli companies ELTA and IAI have a 50:50 work share in the joint venture.

The entire system will be produced in India, both for the Indian forces and the Israeli Navy.

The project is the first, co-development and production contract. It will give DRDO and Indian industry, the capability of new technologies and exposure to new materials and sensors.

Dr Saraswat urged the industry to become a production partner soon from the development of components and systems. “We can't remain a component developer, especially with the tremendous opportunities in the near future in the defence sector”.

There is a concern in the Government whether the domestic industry can absorb the thousands of crores of business opportunities emerging from the upcoming large defence contracts and the ‘offset' policy, that makes it mandatory for a minimum 30 per cent project cost sourcing from India from the global contract winner.

Published on March 17, 2011

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