Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO)- vision, mission and activities.

Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO)


The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is an agency of the Republic of India, charged with the military’s research and development, headquartered in New Delhi, India. It was formed in 1958 by the merger of the Technical Development Establishment and the Directorate of Technical Development and Production with the Defence Science Organisation. It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence, Government of India.

DRDO has identified the following topics for future research & development.

Low Observable Technologies 

The whole spectrum of techniques used to reduce electromagnetic signature, be it Infra red, electromagnetic emission, Radar or Sonar form a part of such technology, which encompasses materials, shapes or finishes for absorption, reflection and/or deflection of radar waves in directions other than the sensors etc.

GaN Devices 

GaN being the most important Direct-bandgap semiconductor material, it is useful in Opto-electronic, higher frequency and high power devices.

SiC based Technology 

Silicon carbide (SiC) a very hard and strong material, previously used as an excellent abrasive is now being developed as material because of its ability to function in high temperature, high frequency, high power and high radiation conditions which will enable large performance enhancements in a wide variety of systems and applications.

Technologies for Soldier support 

Soldier modernization is a set of activities to enhance an Infantrymans lethality, survivability, tactical situational awareness, C4I, sustainability and mobility. To enhance the Infantrymans role as a platform and a system of systems of his own, expanding his capability to receive, send, analyse and display data is aimed at.


Nano science and Technology is an emerging field with scope for the advancement, upgradation and value addition of various defence systems.


Terahertz region of the electromagnetic spectrum provides tangible solution to important practical problems such as concealed explosive detection, forgery and fake currency identification, non destructive testing on non metallic devices and many similar applications.


Sensors are devices that receive and respond to a signal or stimulus, form an integral part of signal processing, communication and control systems. Besides being rapidly deployable, self organizing and fault tolerant they should cater to a variety of requirements such as acoustic, seismic, IR, magnetometers, imagers, micro radars etc.


The unprecedented precision and speed of lasers make them an integral part of any system to provide dominance over adversary. Lasers have exceptional characteristics like low divergence, short pulse width and speed of light which enable to intercept and interrogate the far off targets almost in real time. New technologies in material growth and diode lasers produce high peak and average power at various wavelength.

Functional materials 

The functional materials are distinctly different from structural materials and their physical and chemical properties are sensitive to changes in the environment such as pressure, temperature, electric and magnetic field, optical wavelength, adsorbed gas molecules, pH value etc.



Solar Energy 

Solar Energy plays an important role towards achieving long lasting, sustainable, environment friendly renewable energy resource to fulfill the energy needs for mankind. Multiband Conformal Antennas  Miniature wireless communication devices operating in multiband/multimode, compact antenna for mobile satellite terminals require conformal antennas to enhance multiband performance in terms of impedence matching characteristics as well as radiation patterns, easy installation, providing wider bandwidth and eliminating visual signature.

Gasturbine Technologies 

Design construct and operate reliable and efficient gas turbines to meet the needs and respect environment.


The air-breathing hypersonic technologies and the development of hypersonic cruise vehicles are attracting the attention of the aerospace community all over the world because they have potential of application in the areas of space, civil and military sectors.In the military sector, the technologies would enable the development of hypersonic cruise missiles, which are ideal weapons against time critical targets and buried/hardened targets.


Utilizing light-matter interactions on the nanometer-scale, offers the ability to break through the diffraction limit of light and open the door to novel optical technologies. The unique nature of optical near-fields, allowing interactions at high density free from the classical diffraction limit, nanophotonics has enabled “miniaturization” of light-matter interactions, impacting various areas such as spectroscopy, optical memories, and so on. Nanophotonics can provide high bandwidth, high speed and ultra-small optoelectronic components.


High Energy Materials 

The high energy materials have low calorific values compared to conventional fuels like coal or petrol; however, they release energy at millisecond (propellants) to microsecond (high explosives) scale.

High Power Microwave 

High Power Microwaves (HPM) is a potential technology area that offers innovative approaches to existing defence applications. HPM means peak powers of the order or more of 100 MW, with typical values upto ten GWs, in the microwave frequency band of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Network Centric Operations 

Technologies that support the new war-fighting doctrines that are emerging in the era of ubiquitous sensing, connectivity and computation form the backbone of NCO.


These micro scale mechanics integrated on si-chip capabilities to work as a sensor & actuator coupled with C-Mos signal conditioning circuits to be studied for their use in control, guidance, telemetry, radar, acoustics etc.

High Efficiency Aerodynamics 

Design to improve high cruise efficiency, low-speed performance and safety and impeccable handling characteristics for near ideal aerodynamics

India’s Missile program



  • India’s missile programme took a shot from space programme, beginning 1967.
  • In 1972, Rohini- a 560 two-stage, solid propulsion sounding rocket was developed and test fired
  • India first launched its small 17-tonne SLV-3 space booster in 1979
  • India successfully injected the 35 kg Rohini I satellite into near-earth orbit in 1980.
  • In 1987, an augmented booster, the 35-tonne ASLV had begun flight testing.
  • In 1983 a decisive shift took place in India’s missile program with the launch of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) The principal aim was to develop a family of strategic and tactical guided missiles based on local design and development for three defence services.

Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme

The Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) was conceived by renowned scientist DR.A P J Abdul Kalam to enable Indian Attain self-sufficiency in the filed of Missile Technology.



  • The Prithvi missile is a family of tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles(SRBM) and is
  • India’s first indigenously developed ballistic missile.
  • it was first test-fired on 25 February 1988 from Sriharikota, SHAR Centre,
  • It has a range of up to 150 to 300 km.
  • The land variant is called Prithvi while the naval operational variant of Prithvi I and Prithvi II class missiles are code named Dhanush(meaning Bow).


Surface to surface intercontinetal ballistic missile.

Agni-I is a single stage, solid fuel, road and rail mobile, medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBM) This shorter ranger missile is specially designed to strike targets in Pakistan.

Agni II is an operational version of Agni I and is an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) test-fired in April 1999.

The range for Agni II is more than 2000 km.

Agni III, an intermediate-range ballistic missile was developed by India as the successor to Agni II. Intended to be a two-stage ballistic missile capable of nuclear weapons delivery, it is touted as India’s nuclear deterrent against China. The missile is likely to support a wide range of warhead configurations, with a 3,500 km range and a total payload weight of 2490 kg.

Agni V, believed to be an upgraded version of the Agni III The inter-continental ballistic missile  have a range of about 5000-6000 km . Agni V will be able to carry multiple warheads and would also display countermeasures against anti-ballistic missile systems.



Trishul is the name of a short range surface-to-air missile developed by India as a part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. It has a range of 9 km and is fitted with a 5.5 kg warhead. Designed to be used against low-level (sea skimming) targets at short range, the system has been developed to defend naval vessels against missiles and also as a short-range surface-to-air missile on land.



Akash is a medium range surface-to-air missile developed as part of India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme to achieve self-sufficiency in the area of surface-to-air missiles. It is the most expensive missile project ever undertaken by the Union government in the 20th century.



Nag is India’s third generation “Fire-and-forget” anti-tank missile. It is an all weather, top attack missile with a range of 3 to 7 km.


Other Missiles

Significant additions also include


PINAKA– the Multi-Barrel Rocket System , an area weapon system to supplement the existing artillery gun at ranges beyond 30 km, having quick reaction time and high rate of fire has been accepted by the user after extensive trials.


BrahMos-  being jointly developed with Russia, is a supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land.

BrahMos is among the fastest supersonic cruise missiles in the world, at speeds ranging between Mach 2.5 to 2.8, being about three and a half times faster than the American subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile. Although BrahMos is primarily an anti-ship missile, it is also capable of engaging land-based targets.


Nirbhay- cruise missile  was announced in 2007—a subsonic missile with a range of 1000 km. Capable of being launched from multiple platforms on land, sea and air. Nirbhay will supplement BrahMos in the sense that it would enable delivery of warheads farther than the 300 km range of BrahMos.

In 2008, New Delhi announced the end of the IGMDP with the focus now shifting towards serial production of missiles developed under this programme.


Shaurya– a landbased variant of the K-15 Sagarika which can be stored in underground silos for longer time and can be launched using gas canisters as booster was successfully test-fired in November 2008. This nuclear-capable missile aims to enhance India’s second-strike Sagarika missile is being integrated with India’s nuclearpowered Arihant class submarine that began sea trials in July 2009.


Dhanush– which has been tested several times in recent years believed to be a short-range, sea-based, liquid-propellant ballistic missile—perhaps a naval variant of the Prithvi series, with a maximum range of approximately 300 km.


Air-to-air missile Astra– It is an air to air missile Beyond Range (BVR). This is the first indigenous air-to-air missile developed by India. The range of this missile is 80 km in head-on chase and 15 km in tail chase.


Ballistic Missile Defence system

Two interceptor missiles, the Prithivi air defence missile and the Advanced Air Defence (Ashwin) missile are designed to provide a high-low cover against incoming ballistic missiles. Prithivi is reported to be capable of intercepting missiles at exo-atmospheric altitudes of 50 – 80km, while the AAD is designed to operate at endo-atmospheric altitudes of upto 30kms.


It would be apposite to conclude by stating that India’s missile programme represents an iconic image demonstrating sovereignty and self-reliance vis-à-vis its technological achievements. Resultant of nearly three decades of research, India’s guided missile programme has assumed a self-sustaining character and become fundamentally crucial to New Delhi’s proposed minimal deterrent.


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