Many successes, few failures for DRDO
By Hemant Kumar Rout | Published: 01st January 2013 10:44 AM |
It was a happening year for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the premier brain behind the arsenal of the country’s defence forces. It carried out many successful trials of its indigenously developed missiles including the Long-Range Ballistic Missile (LRBM) Agni-V and achieved many milestones in its strategic missile programme.
While the success of 5,000-km range Agni-V’s maiden trial on April 19 paved way for India to enter the club of nations having inter-continental range ballistic missiles, twin successes of submarine-launched ballistic missile K-15 on March 11 and December 26 and interceptor missiles on February 10 and November 23 boosted the country’s ballistic missile defence (BMD) capabilities.
Achievement of Agni-V drew international attention with India strengthening its efforts to gain a permanent seat on the UN Security Council - the club of the most powerful. The missile has the ability to target all of Asia, the Middle East and parts of Europe.
The DRDO and Strategic Forces Command (SFC), a specially raised missile-handling unit of the Army this year conducted at least 26 trials of 12 missiles - Agni-I, Agni-II, Agni-III, Agni-IV, Agni-V, Prithvi-II, AAD interceptor, BrahMos, Akash, Astra, Dhanush and K-15. Though they registered many successful trials, the DRDO invited flak from various quarters for the failure of BrahMos and Akash missiles in July and May and partial success of one of the most proven missiles Prithvi-II on December 20.
DRDO scientists too received appreciation for the successful first user trial of 3,000-km range Agni-III and developmental tests of Agni-V and Agni-IV from the integrated test range (ITR), off the Odisha coast. They also scored success at the historic date of Dec 12, 2012 with a user trial of 900-km range Agni-I missile.
Even as in the first and last leg of the year the elite defence organisation performed well, the middle leg was crucial as three trials of the six-trial series of surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile Akash failed on May 24, May 26 and June 6. On July 29, the 290-km range BrahMos missile deviated from the pre-designated trajectory during its 32nd trial and crashed into Bay of Bengal. It was tested successfully several times prior to this.
DRDO also achieved significantly in the field of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). India’s defence preparedness got a boost with the induction of new fighter aircraft, helicopters and ships.