2018: Landmark year for DRDO

By Hemant Kumar Rout| Express News Service | Published: 31st December 2018 02:15 AM


BHUBANESWAR: 2018 was a landmark year for the country’s elite Defence Research and

Development Organisation (DRDO) as it helped enhance the credibility of India’s nuclear

deterrence with most of the indigenously developed missiles and weapon systems

tasting success during both experimental and user trials.

The DRDO and armed forces conducted tests of 20 missiles, including two newly

developed systems and advanced version of Pinaka rocket. The missiles, which were put

to tests, are Agni-I, Agni-II, Agni-IV, Agni-V, Prithvi-II, Dhanush, BrahMos, Prahar, Astra,

Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM), Stand off anti-tank (Sant) guided missile,

AAD and PDV interceptors, anti-tank guided missile Helina, submarine-launched B-05

and Man-Portable Anti Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM).

Induction of submarine launched ballistic missile B-05, maiden trials of new surface-toair

missile, powered by Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) and MPATGM, completion of

first deterrence sea patrol by nuclear powered Made-in-India submarine INS Arihant

and final pre-induction trial of most potent long range missile Agni-V were significant


India’s defence preparedness got a boost with the induction of B-05. Kept under wraps

for years, the missile was secretly test-fired back-to-back from indigenously built

nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant off Visakhapatnam coast on August 11 and 12

after being inducted in the armed forces. This makes India the sixth nation in the world

to have a credible triad of nuclear-enabled missiles that can be fired from land, air and


While 5,000-km range nuclear capable missile Agni-V was successfully flight tested

thrice, including once in depressed trajectory and once in lofted trajectory this year

making it ready for serial production, four outstanding night trials of three missiles not

only demonstrated repeatability and robustness of the weapons, but also proved the

ability of the armed forces to fire the missiles any time and under any circumstances.

Many milestones were achieved as more than 40 tests of the missiles were successful

barring the trial of QRSAM from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off Odisha coast. The

missile test fired on April 9 failed to deliver desired results. In a major breakthrough in

missile technology, the DRDO on May 30 successfully carried out the first test of a new

surface-to-air missile with nozzle less booster.

The missile, powered by SFDR, is the fastest in its class and capable of destroying fast

moving aerial targets. In a first, supersonic cruise missile BrahMos was test fired with

life extension technology from Chandipur range and with Gen-Next new homegrown

seeker from Pokhran range on May 21 and March 22 respectively. Both the tests

achieved roaring successes. Test firing of Six rounds of air-to-air missile Astra fired from

Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft between September 26 and October 3 were highly satisfactory

paving its way for induction.

First test of the third generation MPATGM was conducted from Ahmednagar range in

Maharashtra on September 15. The missile, best in its class in the world, is expected to

replace second generation French origin anti-tank guided missile Milan and Soviet semiautomatic

wire-guided missile Konkur, which are in service with the army. Indigenously

designed and developed guided bombs Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) and Helina

were successfully tested at separate firing ranges in Rajasthan between August 16 and


The SAAW integrated with a live warhead destroyed the targets with high precision.

Remarkable test results of Sant guided missile’s air to ground version at Pokhran also

boosted the morale of Indian Air Force (IAF). The missile, an upgrade of Helina, has a

range of 15-20 km and is guided by an Infra-red Imaging Seeker operating in the Lock on

Before Launch mode. It is one of the most advanced anti-tank weapons in the world.

On November 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced INS Arihant, India’s first

nuclear-powered submarine, to have completed its first deterrence patrol. The 6,000-

tonne submarine developed under a highly classified programme proved to be a fully

functional underwater ballistic missile delivery platform.

In a first-of-its-kind exercise code-named CROSS BOW-18, the IAF conducted tests of

combined guided surface-to-air missiles from the Air Force Station at Suryalanka in

Andhra Pradesh from December 5 to 8. Four different classes of missiles – Akash,

Spyder, OSA-AK and man-portable infrared homing missile Igla were successfully testlaunched

during day and night in an integrated networked environment.

Four consecutive successes during night trials were great achievements for the armed

forces this year. The missiles included exo-atmospheric (outside the atmosphere)

interceptor PDV, which destroyed the target fired from a ship mimicking an enemy

weapon, at an altitude of above 100 km. Three other tests including two of Prithvi-II and

one of Agni-I were carried out in just over one month. Clearance from the Ministry of

Environment, Forest and Climate Change for setting up a new missile test launch facility

in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh also brought cheers for the DRDO. The test facility

will be built at a cost of nearly Rs 1,000 crore in the 154.4-hectare area.

Dr G Satheesh Reddy appointed DRDO Chief Distinguished Scientist Dr G Satheesh

Reddy was appointed as Chairman of DRDO and Secretary of Department of Defence

R&D in August. From a young navigation scientist and system manager he rose steadily

to become Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister for over three years before being

selected for the coveted post. He is known for his significant contributions towards

indigenous design, development and deployment of diversified missiles and strategic

systems, guided weapons and avionics technologies.

He led the design and development of a wide range of tactical and strategic missile

systems and invigorated the BMD programme and developed the mission critical

technologies for long range Agni-V missile. Defence Production Corridor Government of

India took policy decision to set up two Defence Production Corridors, one each in Uttar

Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

These would go a long way in making India self-reliant in defence production through

‘Make in India’ initiatives. All-women crew It was also a year of another milestone for

women empowerment in the country when the first-ever all-women crew

circumnavigated the globe in an indigenously built 56-foot Indian Navy Sailing Vessel –

INSV Tarini.

Led by lieutenant commander Vartika Joshi, the captain, the crew comprising lieutenant

commanders Pratibha Jamwal, P Swathi, and lieutenants S Vijaya Devi, B Aishwarya and

Payal Gupta completed their 254-day circumnavigation of the globe on May 21. Mid-air

refuelling India joined the elite group of nation which have developed the Air-to-Air

refuelling system for military class aircraft when Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) ‘Tejas’

successfully completed mid-air refuelling trial by wet (actual) engagement, transferring

1,900 kgs fuel from IAF IL78 mid-air refuelling tanker on September 10.

Portable Diver Detection Sonar (PDDS) DRDO is involved in the design and development

of a PDDS system that is capable of detecting small targets such as divers and diver

delivery vehicles in and around harbours. It will be deployable and retrievable as and

when required. While PDDS deployment system has been developed, field evaluation of

the deployment system will be by early 2019.

Advanced Light Weight Torpedo (ALWT) ALWT is an anti-submarine torpedo launched

from ship, helicopter or fixed wing aircraft. It has dual speed capability and endurance

of 25 km at low speed (25 knots) and 12 km at high speed (50 knots). Discharge test of 70

kw battery was conducted with full torpedo assembled. Static test was conducted at sea

off Vizag to prove operation of recovery aids used in ALWT – STRS, IPRS, Noise maker

and BSAT.

The automated electrical firing of it from single tube launcher and dynamic sea trials

were conducted wherein torpedo made the full run as permission sequence. Unmanned

Aerial Vehicle (UAV) – TAPAS BH Medium altitude long endurance multi-mission UAV

TAPAS-BH is being developed with an endurance of 24 hours to carry out the

intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance roles for the three Armed Forces.

It has been designed to operate at 30,000 ft above mean sea level altitude and is capable

of carrying electronic warfare and electro-optic and synthetic aperture radar payloads.

As many as 63 taxi trials and 25 user configuration flight trials have been completed so

far. New Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (NGARM) DRDO is involved in the design

and development of NGARM having a range of 100 km. AKU-58 launcher after suitable

modification will be used for missile integration on Su-30 MKI aircraft. Successful static

firing of integrated P-I & P-II rocket motor was conditioned at high and low temperatures

in June and July respectively.

Captive flight trials were also successfully conducted in September. Other developments

Maiden flight of indigenously developed Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS)

integrated on LCH has been conducted successfully by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited

(HAL) on January 31. The flight was of 20 min duration and engagement of this system

was flawless throughout the flight. Third submarine of the Scorpene/Project-75 (Karanj)

was launched by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited on the same day.


2018: Landmark year for DRDO

Fllyiing hiigh

Date Name of Missile Test facility Result

Jan 18 Agni-V Kalam Island/Odisha Successful

Feb 6 Agni-I Kalam Island Successful

Feb 7 Prithvi-II Chandipur/Odisha Successful

Feb 20 Agni-II Kalam Island Successful

Feb 21 Prithvi-II (night trial) Chandipur Successful

Feb 23 Dhanush Ship off Odisha coast Successful

March 22 BrahMos Pokharan/Rajasthan Successful

April 9 QRSAM Chandipur Partially Successful

May 10-18 Sant Chandan/Rajasthan Successful

May 21 BrahMos Chandipur Successful

May 30 SFDR Chandipur Successful

May-30-31 Pinaka (MK-II) Chandipur Successful

June 3 Agni-V Kalam Island Successful

July 16 BrahMos Chandipur Successful

Aug 2 AAD Kalam Island Successful

Aug 11-12 B-05 INS Arihant Successful

Aug 16-18 SAAW Chandan Successful

Aug 19 Helina Pokharan Successful

Sep 15-16 MPATGM Ahmednagar/Maharashtra Successful

Sep 20 Prahar Chandipur Successful

Sep 23 PDV (night trial) Kalam Island Successful

Sep 26 Astra Su-30MKI Successful

Oct 6 Prithvi-II (night trial) Chandipur Successful

Oct 8 QRSAM Chandipur Successful

Oct 30 Agni-I (night trial) Kalam Island Successful

Nov 9 Dhanush Ship off Odisha coast Successful

Nov 24 Sant Pokharan Successful

Dec 5 – 8 Akash, Spyder Suryalanka/AP Successful

Dec 10 Agni-V Kalam Island Successful

Dec 23 Agni-IV Kalam Island Successful

2018: Landmark year for DRDO

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.