DRDO inaugurates world's highest R&D center
DRDO established an Extreme Altitude Research Centre at Chang La near Pengong lake in Ladakh, at 17,600 ft above mean sea level, the world's highest terrestrial R&D centre. The centre will serve as natural cold storage for preserving rare and endangered medical plants for generations to come. It will act as an important utility for research in areas of food, agriculture and bio-medical sciences.
Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) was formed in 1958 from the amalgamation of the then existing Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP), with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO). Headquartered in Delhi, it falls under the administrative control of Ministry of Defence. Responsible for military's R&D, DRDO works towards enhancing self-reliance in defence systems.
DRDO's tagline reads "Balasya mulam vigyanam". It traslates to "The source of strength is science". DRDO works in the areas of military technology like aeronautics, armaments, missiles, advanced computing, life sciences, etc.
Major responsibilities of DRDO
DRDO is responsible for designing, developing and leading to production, state-of-art sensors, weapon systems, platforms and allied equipment (including strategic systems, tactical systems, dual-use technologies). They conduct research in life sciences, to optimize combat effectiveness of soldiers and promote their well being, especially in harsh environments. They are involved in developing infrastructure and highly trained manpower for creating a strong defence technology base.
Developments in aeronautics, combat engg. and naval research
Some of the achievements by DRDO in the field of aeronautics include the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) - Nishant, tactical UAV and Lakshya, Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA). Among combat vehicles, DRDO has developed Combat Improved Ajeya (CIA) tank and Arjun tank. DRDO is also involved in naval R&D where its main thrust is on SONAR - Sound Navigation And Ranging.
Achievements in the area of missile systems
Under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), DRDO developed various missiles. These included medium to intercontinental range ballistic missiles - Agni; short range surface-to-surface missiles - Prithvi; short range low-level surface-to-air missile - Trishul; medium range surface-to-air missile - Akash and third-generation anti-tank missile - Nag. Beyond IGMDP, DRDO developed Brahmos missile- joint venture between India and Russia, Shaurya and Sagarika missiles.
Anti-Ballistic Missile Defence Project
DRDO is involved in the 'Indian Ballistic Missile Defence Programme'. It is an initiative to develop and deploy a multi-layered ballistic missile defence system to protect the country from ballistic missile attacks.
1st woman Director-General
In Sep 2015, J Manjula was appointed as the first woman Director-General of the DRDO's Electronics and Communication Systems cluster. The DGs of seven clusters form the DRDO's second rung who report to the organisation's Director-General.