DRDO has failed to deliver, says Antony

April 11th, 2008 - 9:27 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Even as a high-powered committee suggested a drastic overhaul of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Defence Minister A.K. Antony Friday admitted the organisation has failed to deliver on many of its projects. “We must not lose sight of the fact that a number of DRDO’s projects have been plagued by cost overruns and inability to deliver on time, forcing the user (the armed forces) to resort to the import route,” Antony said at the 32nd DRDO conference here.

“And project delays will only result in the end product being out of date by the time it is fielded. At times, the end-products have also turned out to be inconsistent with user requirements,” Antony added.

Among the major DRDO projects that have suffered huge time and cost overruns are the development of the Arjun main battle tank (MBT) and the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA).

The DRDO has, however, been instrumental in developing a series of tactical and strategic missile systems like the Prithvi and the Agni, some of which have been inducted into the armed forces.

A committee headed by eminent scientist P. Rama Rao has suggested that DRDO focus on 10 to 14 critical projects like missiles, anti-missiles systems, the LCA, aero engines, electronic warfare systems, and high altitude extreme endurance weaponised unmanned aerial vehicles.

The report, which has been submitted to the defence minister, has not been made public.

The DRDO, which was set up in 1957, has grown from 10 laboratories to 52 across the country with manpower of over 30,000.

Underlining the need for greater investment in research and development, Antony said: “Technologies are crucial to the maintenance of country’s edge over the others, so there is little prospect of critical technologies, they may be available only on unacceptable terms and conditions.”

Antony also hinted at streamlining the defence product development and procurement process as recommended by the Rama Rao committee.

“On the anvil are amendments to our procurement procedures, developing a healthy interface with the public and private industry through offsets and bringing about organizational improvements in the DRDO,” he said.

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