The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is concentrating on advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, hypersonic weapons, cyber-warfare, electro-magnetic technologies, high-power lasers, long-range radars, quantum communication technologies, networking of systems and advanced materials says DRDO chairman Dr G Satheesh Reddy.
The industry has matured. It has moved from designing as per drawings to now having the ability to design according to the specifications. The encouragement to industry is showing. We have roped them in to make big equipment, on integration of missiles, bombs and many other systems. Dr G Satheesh Reddy, DRDO Chief
The immediate targets, according to Dr Reddy, are increasing the range of air-to-air missiles beyond 150 km and that of surface-to-air missiles beyond 250 km.
Airborne radars and long-range 1,000-plus km radars are the next on plan, with the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for fighter jets ending its final testing. For the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), DRDO “may go in for the special purpose vehicle model”.
The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark2 is in the final design phase, while the AMCA design is in advanced stages. “We will definitely meet timelines on the AMCA and LCA Mark2,” he said.
On ground fighting equipment, Dr Reddy said, “We are looking for partners for Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) and Future Ready Combat Vehicles (FRCV).”
The scenario, he points out, is changing. “We are getting inquiries for export of Akash missiles, torpedoes and artillery gun, the ATAGS, to name a few.”
Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP), that allows conventional submarines to remain under water for longer periods, has been demonstrated. “We are working to integrate the system. The basic model has been made.”
India, he said, has become self-sufficient in many technological areas like missiles, radars, sonars, electronic warfare systems, Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS), artillery guns, armored vehicles and fighter aircraft.
“Industry participation is growing. We have at least 2,000 industries, which are capable of making systems and sub-systems of equipment. Close to 10,000 are now suppliers of components,” according to Dr Reddy, who is also the secretary, Department of Defense R&D.
“Industry has matured. It has moved from the ability to design as per drawings to now have the ability to design as per specifications,” he says. – Ajay Banerjee