The DRDO Mess
Admiral L Ramdas, a former chief of staff of the Indian Navy:
"The Indian armed services' experience with DRDO-made armaments has not been a happy one. Their reliability is often extremely poor. We often used to joke that one had to pray they would somehow work in the battlefield."
That sums up the state of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
MBT - Main Battle Tank
- project launched in 1974.
- failed to meet service level requirements - too heavy and undependable for combat.
- army prefers to use it for training. Arjun Tank - nowhere in sight.
Nuclear Powered Submarine
- launched an incredible 31 years ago - not yet finished.
- estimated spending till date - Rs 3000 Crores.
LCA - Light Combat Aircraft
- launched 1983
- failure to develop a reliable engine for it.
- with imported engines too - there is no inducted flights in sight yet. The LCA Puzzle.
- project launched 19 years ago.
- estimated expenditure - Rs 250 crores.
- DRDO expressed confidence that it would be inducted into service by 1994.
- after evaluation Navy went in for Israeli Barak Missile system.
- project is likely shelved as per reports.
Agni - III
- tested recently and failed to deliver, has been in development since 1999.
- largely seen as technology demostrators, as extensive field trials is not something that DRDO normally does before declaring it a success.
We sure have good scientists too - but what is going on here?
Reasons for failures remain the same - as they would be for a public sector behemoth ~ lack of accountability. At this rate: What will happen to the operational readiness of our defence forces?