DRDO’S NEW TARGET: NO MISSILE IMPORTS FROM 2022
The success of the Nirbhay has instilled fresh confidence in the DRDO to set an ambitious new target. DRDO chief, and therefore the country’s seniormost missile scientist, Dr Avinash Chander said: “We have set a target not to import any missiles and other technologies from abroad beyond 2022 and instead focus on creating our own indigenous products.” While India is per force fully independent in the strategic missile sphere, with a full family of ballistic missiles, it is the tactical missile sphere that offers far greater challenges. The only indigenous tactical system (other than the Indo-Russian BrahMos) currently in service is the Akash surface-to-air missile. In every other service requirement, the armed forces continue to use—and express the need to import—foreign systems. The journey is an extremely difficult one, but an imperative one. For the DRDO chief’s vision to fire, the entire gamut of weapon systems currently in development, will need to be fully proven and inducted into operational service by 2020. That includes the Astra BVRAAM, the Nag anti-tank guided missile, the PAD/ AAD ballistic missile defence system, the Prahaar/Pragati hybrid surfafe-to-surface system, the B-05 submarine launched hybrid land attack missile and others currently in the stage of project definition, including a stand-off air-launched strike missile (a Nirbhay-A could fill that requirement), a QR-SAM and point defence system (to fill the void left by the Trishul system) and several others.