The Missle Man

Business Sphere - - CONTENTS - By Our Cor­re­spon­dent

DRDO fel­low D.S. Reddy has been con­ferred with a Life­Time Achieve­ment Award. In­dia made his­tory when the coun­try’s first Bal­lis­tic Mis­sile, Prithvi, was suc­cess­fully tested in 1988. It meant that In­dia had fi­nally taken the first step to­wards be­com­ing self-suf­fi­cient in pro­duc­ing wide-range bal­lis­tic mis­siles. On March 25, a sci­en­tist who played a vi­tal role in devel­op­ment and flight eval­u­a­tion for the pro­ject and a De­fence Re­search and Devel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion Fel­low, D. Sreeni­va­sulu Reddy of Hy­der­abad, was con­ferred with a Life­time Achieve­ment Award for four decades of his con­tri­bu­tion to the or­gan­i­sa­tion by the De­fence Min­is­ter, Arun Jait­ley. He was also in­stru­men­tal in the suc­cess­ful flight test of the ship-launched Dhanush mis­sile. “I’m hon­oured that the or­gan­i­sa­tion de­cided to con­fer this rare award to me,” says 68-year-old D.S Reddy, re­call­ing that the In­te­grated Guided Mis­sile Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme (the um­brella pro­gramme which in­cluded the Prithvi pro­ject), would have been noth­ing with­out Dr Ab­dul Kalam. “He ini­ti­ated the pro­gramme in 1983 and I joined DRDO in 1973. Be­fore Dr Kalam joined us, we had no great ex­pec­ta­tions. The vi­sion and lead­er­ship was miss­ing and we didn’t know what we were ca­pa­ble of. He turned it all around. I in­ter­acted with him for the first time when I was be­ing in­ter­viewed for a pro­mo­tion and Dr Kalam said I did well. I also felt grat­i­fied when he asked my team­mates, ‘Can you launch this mis­sile with­out Mr Reddy?’ in­di­cat­ing that my work was val­ued.” In the 43 years of his ser­vice in the field, he has also been con­ferred with the Agni Award for Ex­cel­lence and the Self-Re­liance and the DRDO Per­for­mance Ex­cel­lence Award. He says that he got into this field by chance. “I had com­pleted my MSc and in the ‘70s, find­ing a job was very tough. I saw an ad­ver­tise­ment in a news­pa­per that said DRDO was hir­ing. I didn’t know much about it, but I ap­plied. That was my first and last job, and I didn’t think of quit­ting be­cause the work en­vi­ron­ment was ex­cel­lent. Su­pe­ri­ors would give us free­dom and help us out if we got stuck,” he says, stress­ing that the Bal­lis­tic Mis­sile Pro­gramme is im­por­tant to de­fend our­selves. “De­vel­op­ing and un­der­de­vel­oped coun­tries are not al­lowed to im­port mis­siles but our ad­ver­saries have got them through clan­des­tine means. It is all the more nec­es­sary now to be ready to de­fend our­selves,” he says and adds that he is grate­ful for his fam­ily’s sup­port. “I would hardly be able to spend time with the kids, but they un­der­stood the im­por­tance of my job,” he says.

IAF’s 2nd base for radar planes ready for take-off in Bathinda

The In­dian Air Force’s sec­ond air­base for op­er­at­ing air­borne early warn­ing and con­trol sys­tems (AEW&CS) air­craft that has come up at the Bhisiana Air Force Sta­tion near Bathinda in Pun­jab is ready for op­er­a­tions. The in­fras­truc­tural and sup­port fa­cil­i­ties built up at the air­base by the De­fence Re­search and Devel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DRDO) for the AEW&CS are com­plete and the new com­plex within the air­base is ex­pected

to be handed over to the Air Force next month, IAF sources said. The base will house in­dige­nous AEW&CS de­vel­oped by the DRDO, which is chris­tened Ne­tra and was show­cased at the Repub­lic Day Pa­rade as well as the Aero In­dia show ear­lier this year. A fighter, un­manned aerial ve­hi­cle and a mis­sile squadron are also based at Bhisiana. The other IAF base to op­er­ate AEW&CS is Agra, home to the A-50 AWACS, which are Is­raeli Phal­con sys­tems in­te­grated with a mod­i­fied Rus­sian IL-76 heavylift air­craft. The DRDO’s Ben­galuru-based Cen­tre for Air­borne Sys­tems (CABS) has de­vel­oped three such sys­tems that are mounted on the Brazil­ian Em­braer ERJ 145 air­craft. Two of the air­craft would be based at Bhisiana while the third will re­main po­si­tioned at the CABS for re­search and devel­op­ment, sources said. Another six such sys­tems are re­ported to have been or­dered, with the IAF’s to­tal re­quire­ment in this cat­e­gory pro­jected at 20 plat­froms. AWACS are force mul­ti­pli­ers and can cover a huge swath of airspace, look deep into the en­emy ter­ri­tory and de­tect en­emy air­craft and mis­siles right from the launch phase, be­sides in­ter­cept­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion sig­nals. Their fly­ing al­ti­tude gives them an ad­van­tage over ground-based radar and they can pro­vide a real time bat­tle­field pic­ture to com­man­ders for de­ci­sion mak­ing and counter air op­er­a­tions. At present, the IAF has three A-50s with another two in the pipe­line. The DRDO has also launched a new pro­ject to build larger and more ca­pa­ble AWACS than the Ne­tra. Ini­tially, two such AWACS air­craft will be de­vel­oped, with four more to fol­low sub­se­quently. The IAF is also look­ing at west­ern plat­forms like the Bor­ing 767 and Air­bus 330 for fu­ture planes. China and Pak­istan also op­er­ate dif­fer­ent types of AEW&CS.

De­fence Min­is­ter, Arun Jait­ley

D.S. Reddy, For­mer Sci­en­tist and DRDO Fel­low

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