DRDO: Role, Functions & Achievements | DRDO UPSC Notes

By Shivank Goel|Updated : January 11th, 2023

DRDO stands for Defence Research and Development Organization which is the R&D wing of India's Ministry of Defence. DRDO's vision is to equip India with state-of-the-art defence technologies to attain self-reliance in crucial defence systems and technologies. DRDO also aims to empower India's armed forces with the latest avant-garde weapon and defence equipment that cater to the requirements of the three divisions of armed services.

DRDO finds its relevance under the defence Technology of the UPSC syllabus. Questions can be asked related to Defence Research and Development Organization in the UPSC exam, and that’s why in this article, we have covered DRDO UPSC notes to help candidates in their preparation.

Table of Content

What is DRDO?

DRDO full form is Defence Research and Development Organization, and it was established in 1958 by combining three central defence departments. The Defence Research and Development Organization [DRDO] is the R&D wing of India's Ministry of Defense. 

  • DRDO's vision is to equip India with state-of-the-art defence technologies to attain self-reliance in crucial defence systems and technologies.
  • DRDO aims to empower India's armed forces with the latest avant-garde weapon and defence equipment that cater to the requirements of the three divisions of armed services.
  • They are the Defence Science Organization (DSO), Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP), and Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army. 
  • After its formation, DRDO was just a minor organization operating in more than ten laboratories. Currently, it's a pioneering organization strengthening India's defence system. 
  • DRDO has more than 50 laboratories and has further expanded into multiple disciplines.

Role of DRDO

The role of DRDO has the following roles:

  • DRDO was established to fulfil the mission of developing, designing, and leading the production of defence equipment and sensors to strengthen the Indian Defence Services.
  • The aim of DRDO is also to prove a technical solution for combat effectiveness and encourage the welfare of troops.
  • The role of DRDO also includes developing infrastructure and quality manpower for the defence services and systems of the country.

History of DRDO

The Defence Research and Development Organization, or DRDO, was established in 1958 by the Government of India. 

  • In the beginning, DRDO was a small organization with 10 laboratories. It has grown rapidly over the years in terms of subject disciplines, achievements, number of laboratories, and stature.
  • DRDO’s first major project was in 1960 for Indigo to develop Surface-to-Air missiles. 
  • Currently, DRDO has more than 50 laboratories across the country in different sectors of defence and technology.

Functions of DRDO

A few functions of DRDO include the following-

  • To update and advise Raksha Mantri on the influence of National Security in terms of upcoming progress in science and tech.
  • DRDO also designs and executes programs related to scientific research, development, design, and evaluation in fields incorporated under national security.
  • Administration of laboratories, ranges, facilities, agencies, establishments, and projects
  • DRDO is responsible for overlooking financial matters and other related assistance to institutions, individuals, and universities for the training and study of human resources on components of science and technology that affect national security.
  • Consult and cooperate with the Ministry of External Affairs in international relations related to science and technology affecting national security.
  • DRDO certifies the design airworthiness of military equipment and aircraft.

DRDO Programmes

Here are a few programs launched by Defence Research and Development Organization [DRDO] -

IGMDP or Integrated Guided-Missile Development Program

  • Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was one of the leading forces behind IGMDP. It aimed to make India self-reliant in the field of missile technology.
  • The missiles developed were Prithvi, Trishul, Agni, Nag, and Akash.

Highest Terrestrial Centre in Ladakh

  • DRDO terrestrial centre in Ladakh is located 17,600 feet above sea level near Pangong lake at Changla.
  • It was built as a cold preservation storage unit for natural medicinal plants.

Mobile Autonomous Robot System or MARS

  • It is another program by DRDO. MARS is a powerful and intelligent robot to help Indian armies disarm land mines and Inert Explosive Devices (IEDs) despite being in hostile surroundings.
  • With a few features and modifications, the robot can be utilized to dig the ground and diffuse the explosive device through numerous methods.
  • DRDO strives to make India's defence system stronger to combat any challenges that may occur in the future. Several reputed scientists and technologists have contributed to enhancing DRDO's programs.

Challenges Faced by DRDO

There are various challenges faced by Defence Research and Development Organization [DRDO], such as

  • DRDO faces the challenge of Inadequate budget support.
  • Lack of manpower in critical areas
  • Cost escalation and delayed outputs are other challenges for DRDO.
  • ISPO is provided with better support from the government compared to DRDO.
  • The inadequacy to meet the internal defence demands.
  • The lack of combined operation with armed forces is also a challenge for DRDO.

Recent Developments by DRDO

The Defence Research and Development Organization [DRDO] has successfully test-fired Laser-Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM).

  • The Laser-Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) are designed to destroy and test heavily armoured military vehicles.
  • Laser Guided ATGM has a tandem High Explosive Anti-Tank warhead. it can defeat Explosive Reactive Armour protected armoured vehicles.
  • ATGM has been built with multi-platform launch capability.

Way Forward- DRDO

DRDO can have a commercial arm like ISRO to become a profitable entity. It would help to complete the projects on budget at the right time.

  • DRDO should partner with the private sector to build software for defence projects.
  • More importance can be given to working on new innovative ideas and building cutting-edge technologies.
  • In the document "DRDO in 2021: HR Perspectives’, the Defence Research and Development Organization has envisaged HR policy, which is a step in the right direction.

DRDO UPSC

DRDO is a dynamic segment of the UPSC Syllabus. DRDO plays a significant role in the defence system of the country, and that’s why aspirants must give high importance to this topic. Previously many questions have been asked related to DRDO in both UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains. Candidates can take the help of DRDO UPSC notes to prepare for this topic in the upcoming UPSC Exam.

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FAQs on Defence Research and Development Organization

  • DRDO's full form is the Defence Research and Development Organization. It was established with the aim of empowering India with cutting-edge defence technology.

  • The Defence Research and Development Organization [DRDO] is working with obsolete tech. For example, it is still tweaking or modifying World War II machines and equipment instead of building or designing innovative, cutting-edge technology.

  • The motto of the Defence Research and Development Organization [DRDO] is in Sanskrit-Balasya Mulam Vigyanam. It means the roots of strength lie in knowledge.

  • The DRDO develops defence technologies in the project mode. DRDO also supports various products and technology development.

  • DRDO has 52 laboratories engaged in developing various defence technologies covering fields like electronics, aeronautics, land combat engineering, missiles, materials, naval systems, etc.

  • Candidates preparing for the UPSC Exam need to go through the UPSC Notes. We have provided the DRDO UPSC notes below.

    DRDO UPSC Notes PDF

  • BrahMos, Sagarika, Nirbhay, Shaurya, Astra, Dhanush, and Prahaar were some of the other missiles developed outside the program.

  • INS Arihant is India's first nuclear ballistic missile submarine co-developed by Defence Research and Development Organization [DRDO]. It became operational in 2018.

  • The full form of DRDO is Defence Research and Development Organization. It develops defence technologies, systems and equipment required for the Indian armed forces.

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