The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has strengthened India’s defence capabilities by successfully conducting the country’s first anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test apart from other projects like Light Combat Aircraft for Indian Navy, Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) Astra from Su-30 MKI platform off the coast of Chandipur in Odisha. A EurAsian Times report
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DRDO is the R&D wing of Ministry of Defence, Govt of India. It has the vision to empower India with cutting-edge defence technologies and a mission to achieve self-reliance in critical defence technologies and systems. It also aims at equipping our armed forces with state-of-the-art weapon systems.
The DRDO was formed in 1958 from the amalgamation of the then already functioning Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP) with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO).
Indigenous Breakthroughs by DRDO
DRDO chief G. Sateesh Reddy, as EurAsian Times reported earlier, set an ambitious target of achieving self-reliance in missiles, radars, sonars, torpedoes, armaments, and early warning systems in 5 years. This becomes important because even after 60 years of the DRDO formation, India still imports a large share of its defence equipment.
In the year 2018-19, India became the world’s second-largest importer of defence equipment, accounting for 13 per cent of the global total, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)
The LCA (Navy) is the naval version of indigenously developed Tejas fighter aircraft being developed for the Indian Air Force. In this context, DRDO successfully neutralized manoeuvring targets to establish the end-game capability of the missile. For instance, the first-ever arrested landing of Light Combat Aircraft at INS Hansa was done in Goa.
The DRDO released an official statement which said, “This arrested landing heralds the arrival of true indigenous capability and displays the professional prowess of our scientific community Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) embedded with design plus build the capability of HAL(ARDC), DRDO and CSIR Labs involved in executing this landmark event”.
Another indigenously built achievement has been the airborne early warning and control system-Netra- which the DRDO handed over to the Indian Air Force. The system played a ‘behind the scene’ role in the much talked about Balakot surgical strikes in February 2019.
“India is only the fourth country in the world to have developed this advanced system, popularly known as the ‘Eye-in-the-sky’, for its ability to detect enemy aircraft soon after they are airborne with the help of a radar onboard the aircraft although it is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack”, said Dr K Ramchand, a member of the development team.
Mission Shakti is the country’s first anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test. By launching Mission Shakti, India has entered the elite group of nations (consisting of the US, China, Russia) that have the ASAT weapon.
It becomes an important step towards strengthening Outerspace warfare capability. To be specific, it can help in targeting and destroying satellites of the enemy which can completely halt communication systems of a country and during a conflict, this would mean the enemy could fail to use its missiles or drones.
In the test, India targetted a Low Earth Orbit (LEO), thereby achieving the capability to protect itself in outer space. The operation was conducted by using Light Combat aircraft Tejas MK I for Indian Air Force which has got (informally) awarded with final operational clearance (FOC).
Intertial Guided Bomb
India successfully test-fired an indigenously-made 500-kg class “inertial guided bomb” from a Sukhoi jet at the Pokhran test range in Rajasthan. The test has been pegged as a major achievement for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as the guided bomb achieved the desired range and also hit its target with precision.
This 500-kg class precision bomb allows precision targeting from long distances even under adverse visibility conditions. The inertial guidance system is an electronic system that continuously monitors the position, velocity and acceleration of a vehicle, usually a submarine, missile, or aeroplane, and provides navigational data or control without the need for communicating with a base
Such achievements of the DRDO counter the criticism faced by it regarding the delays in approvals, red-tapism, etc. The organisation has indeed played a great role in 2019 to enhance Indian defence capabilities.