DRDO missions: Many hits, few misses

Of 26 missions involving 10 missiles conducted from the defence test facility off Odisha coast, 21 have been successful.

Published: 31st December 2016 02:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st December 2016 03:45 PM   |  A+A-

Agni-V being test fired from the Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast | EPS

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: With successful flight testing of longest range nuclear capable Inter-Continental Range Ballistic Missile Agni-V, trials of submarine launched long ballistic missile K-4 from INS Arihant and continued successful user trials of Prithvi-II, BrahMos, Agni-I, Akash, Dhanush and Astra missiles besides addition of new weapon systems, the eventful year displayed the nation's prowess and self-reliance in advanced missile technology development programme.

Of 26 missions involving 10 missiles conducted from the defence test facility off Odisha coast, 21 have been successful barring only five during which the missiles failed to hit the target. The four include indigenously developed cruise missile Nirbhay which was destroyed mid-air after it deviated from trajectory and Astra that exploded after launch from aircraft.

The successful test firing of 5,000 km range Agni-V, underwater ballistic missile from a submarine, Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile and Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile developed jointly with Israel Aerospace Industries, AAD interceptor missile, air-to-air Astra missile from Sukhoi aircraft, Nag missile, new generation anti-radiation missile and tests of smart anti air field weapon were some of the missions that brought cheer for DRDO.

On April 8, notwithstanding international pressure, India secretly conducted the maiden test of its nuclear capable undersea ballistic missile K-4 from homegrown submarine INS Arihant from an undisclosed location in Bay of Bengal.
Several countries reacted to the development as India joined the elite club of few nations which have the
submarine-based weapon system.

Guided flight tests of Nag missile were carried out with the objective of demonstrating range capabilities of imaging infrared (IIR) seeker during worst time of the day in summer environment. Similarly, captive flight trials of new generation anti-radiation missile were carried out at airforce station, Pune with Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft while Smart Anti Air Field Weapon (SAAW) capable of engaging ground targets with high precision up to a range of 100 kms was tested from an aircraft.

The year also saw augmentation of nation's defence preparedness by adding new high power fifth generation aircraft, combat aircraft, drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, airborne early warning and control system, warships and light combat helicopter.

The fifth generation futuristic systems include Advance Medium Combat Aircraft, Sukhoi, light combat aircraft manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, attacking helicopter Rudra and Rustom-Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle developed by DRDO. The light combat aircraft Tejas was inducted into No. 45 Squadron of IAF on July 1.

Research and Innovation Centre of DRDO, IIT-Madras Research Park, Chennai developed advanced devices and micro unmanned aerial vehicle for the defence force and paramilitary for eavesdropping and surveillance along border areas and internal security.

The DRDO signed an MoU with Jadavpur University to set up Jagadish Chandra Bose Centre for Advanced Technology at the varsity to deal with subjects like robotics and cyber security. It signed an agreement by which a bi-nodal 'Centre for Propulsion Technology' will be established on IIT Bombay and IIT Madras campuses.

The defence organisation is also in talks with Don Bosco College of Engineering, Fatorda, over a potential tie-up on research projects. It is likely to collaborate with IIT Bombay and IIT Madras to conduct research and develop products related to critical aerospace technologies.

This was too a fruitful year for DRDO in the field of research and development. It developed a new thermal imaging radar called 'Divyachakshu' which can scan through walls and is expected to help the Indian armed forces to deal with any hostage situation eventuality. A new technology has been developed for utilising solar heat harnessed during the day for heating rooms during the night at extreme altitude.

The Laser Science and Technology Centre, a DRDO lab, launched a new system that has the potential to ensure warships, tanks and other weapons manufactured in the country have the right capabilities to evade laser and infrared guided bombs and missiles. This is the first-of-its-kind laser system in the field of stealth technology. The Laser Cross Section Measurement and Imaging System, pronounced as Laxmi, was launched at the maritime exhibition at Visakhapatnam.

The Indian Navy has also inducted four indigenously developed sonar systems which use sound to detect objects under water to boost its underwater surveillance capabilities.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar handed over the four sensors including Abhay, which can be mounted on hulls of small vessels, Humsa UG, an upgraded version of the older Humsa sonar system besides the Near-field Acoustic Characterisation System and the Advanced Indigenous Distress Sonar System for Submarines to the Indian Navy.

In July, DRDO test-fired its fully indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System. The test took place at the Proof and Experimental Establishment in Balasore.

In November, after a considerable delay, India's long endurance Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) Rustom-II finally completed its first flight from Aeronautical Test Range, Chitradurga. DRDO ended the year with a positive note with the fourth successful experimental trial of Agni-V from a canister for the second time on December 26 drawing international attention.


To enhance its blue water capability, the Navy opted to strengthen its submarine arm for which request for proposal to acquire six more conventional submarines under Project 75(I) worth around `80,000 crore was cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council. Six conventional submarines are planned to be built in India with foreign collaboration under the project.


The much awaited Rafale deal with France was signed on September 23 under which France will provide 36 Rafale fighter jets to India at a cost of around `59,000 crore. The Rafale fighter has 14 India-specific enhancements and a modern air-to-air missile that restores its edge in aerial combat over Pakistan.

IAF scripted history by commissioning first three women fighter pilots at the combined graduation parade at Air Force Academy, Dundigal on June 18. India joined a select few nations in the world that have women fighter pilots.


January 28 - Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully conducts user trials of Akash missile off Odisha coast

February 16 - Prithvi-II missile test fired from Chandipur coast fails to hit target set by army

March 7 - India successfully test fires Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) K-4 from an undersea platform

March 14 - Army test-fires nuclear capable Agni-I missile off Odisha coast

April 8 - India secretly conducts maiden test of nuke-capable undersea ballistic missile K-4 from INS Arihant submarine from an undisclosed location in Bay of Bengal

April 11 - IAF successfully conducts user trial of Akash targeting a pilotless target aircraft

April 13 - Two more rounds of Akash successfully test fired against two unmanned aerial vehicles demonstrating its killing efficiency

May 15 - India successfully test fires low altitude supersonic Advance Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile dubbed as Ashwin

May 18 - Army test of Prithvi-II from a defence base off Odisha coast successful

May 27 - IAF successfully test fires supersonic cruise missile BrahMos from Pokhran range against a land based target

June 30 - DRDO successfully conducts maiden test of newly developed Indo-Israeli Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) off Odisha coast. The missile fails to 'hit' target during second trial on the same day

July 1 - Another trial of MRSAM from the Integrated Test Range off Odisha coast successful

September 20 - DRDO successfully conducts twin tests of long range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) from Odisha test facility

September 21 - Another test of LRSAM from ITR successful

November 16 - DRDO launces a variant of Prithvi-II ballistic missile as a target weapon system for AAD interceptor missile, which fails to take off

November 21 - Armed forces successfully test fires two nuclear capable Prithvi-II ballistic missiles back-to-back in salvo mode

November 22 - Army successfully conducts a user trial of Agni-I missile

December 7 - Beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile Astra missile explodes immediately after it was fired from an aircraft causing enormous noise

December 12 - IAF test fires Astra against an actual target in full operational configuration

December 13 - One more round of Astra test fired from the fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30 against a simulated live target

December 21 - Home grown subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay fails ‘miserably’ during a developmental trial with the weapon system deviating from the pre-designated trajectory

December 24 - DRDO successfully tests an indigenous Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from an IAF aircraft

December 26 - DRDO successfully test fires longest range nuke-capable missile Agni-V
from Abdul Kalam Island

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