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Defence Research and Development Laboratory

Other Name: DRDL
Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Subordinate To: Ministry of Defence (MoD); Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: Operational

The DRDL was established in 1961 at the campus of the Defence Science Centre, Delhi as an expansion of the Special Weapon Development Team (SWDT). The laboratory was moved to Hyderabad in February 1962 to work on the design and development of missiles. During this initial phase, the laboratory successfully designed anti-tank missiles and indigenous rockets. The laboratory's first computer, an IBM 1620, was installed as early as in 1965. Necessary infrastructure and test facilities were established from 1972 to 1982, which included Aerodynamic, Structural and Environmental test facilities, Liquid and Solid propulsion facilities, Fabrication engineering facilities, FRP, Rubber, and computer facilities. In 1982, the institute made a significant advance in the design and development of various types of missiles, which simultaneously led to a limited series production of missiles under the Integrated Guided Missiles Development Program (IGMDP). During this period, R&D was conducted on the Prithvi (a surface-to-surface missile), the Trishul (a quick reaction, short-range surface-to-air missile), the Nag (a third-generation anti-tank missile), and the Akash (a medium-range surface-to air-missile), in addition to Agni (a technology demonstrator).

The DRDL is currently working on system designs and analysis, guidance and control designs, and warhead damage assessments. As stated in its website, it is "researching designs for tactical missiles, multi-stage vehicles, intake aerodynamics, aerodynamics of submunition warheads, inter-stage design and stage separation studies for multi-stage vehicles, aerothermal designs for re-entry vehicle, flexibility effects of airframe on aerodynamic performance, launch vehicle dynamics, estimation of aerodynamic coefficients from post flight data, and aerodynamic test technique in wind tunnel and aero ballistic range."

The DRDL is researching and developing a number of computer and communication range systems such as the "development of C4I systems, air defense simulations, virtual reality simulators, range safety support, Internet and Intranet support to the Lab, training and advisory activities in IT, tele-conferencing and video conferencing, software quality assurance, GPS and DGPS, and range instrumentation support."

The laboratory also maintains a number of different facilities, as well as extensive equipment and technologies:

  • CAD/CAM Center
  • Precision CNC machine
  • Precision jig
  • Burnishing technology for pneumatic actuators
  • Spark erosion machines
  • Flow turning and flow forming technologies
  • Heavy duty machining and vertical turning
  • Press tools, injection and compression moulding tools
  • TIG, MIG, and Electron beam welding
  • Heat treatment for ferrous and non-ferrous alloys
  • Die casting and precision investment castings
  • Non-Destructive Testing and Evaluation
  • 3D inspection facilities
  • Ground resonance test facility
  • LP engine horizontal test facility
  • LP engine vertical test facility
  • Ramjet test facility
  • Aero ballistic range facility
  • Supersonic wind tunnel facility
  • Integrated rocket ramjet test facility
  • Computer-aided tomography facility
  • Non-destructive evaluation facility
  • Solid-propellant engine test facilities including a 6 component test stand

The DRDL has developed the Prithvi, the Trishul, the Akash, the Nag, and the Agni missile systems. The Prithvi and Agni missiles are both capable of carrying chemical warheads. Over the last few years, the institute has made the following improvements to the systems:

  • Prithvi: Completed the development of an Air Force Version; completed the development of an Army version and introduced it into service (with one type of warhead); development of two more type of warheads is nearing completion; and created user training and documentation and ESP.
  • Trishul: Completed the proving of three-beam guidance and a sea skimmer role; developed a Trishul combat vehicle (development and user version); developed of an Air Force launch and Air Force Radar vehicle; completed trials of a Naval version; and is in the advanced stage in the development trials of an Army and Air Force system.
  • Akash: Completed development of Ramjet Propulsion Technology, phased Array Radar (developed and user version), and other ground systems like BCC, BSR and 3D-CAR; completed the TOT to BDL for Assembly & integration; and successfully flight tested against electronic targets.
  • Nag: Developed a Nag Missile carrier (NAMICA) and a Day Version Seeker; developing an all-weather seeker; and developed a tube launcher.
  • Agni: Successfully developed re-entry technology with Carbon-Carbon Heat shields.

Sources:
[1] "DRDO Address Book," www.drdo.org;
[2] Defence Research and Development Laboratory, Hyderabad, www.drdo.org;
[3] Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Test-Flown Successfully, www.drdo.org.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

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