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Vehicles Research & Development Establishment

  • Location
    Ahmednagar, Maharashtra
  • Type
  • Facility Status

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The Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (VRDE) grew out of the Inspectorate of Mechanical Transport, which was established in 1929 at Chaklala (now Pakistan). It was relocated to Ahmednagar in 1947 and designated as the Technical Development Establishment, Vehicles (TDE). The TDE, Vehicles was once again renamed as the Technical Development Establishment (Vehicles and Engineering Stores) in August 1960 and in February 1962, it was further bifurcated into an engineering and vehicles division. The engineering division was moved to Pune, Maharashtra. In August 1965, the Ahmednagar unit of the TDE, Vehicles was reorganized into a Chief Inspectorate of Vehicles (CIV) and the VRDE and both units were located in Ahmednagar. Finally, in 1971, Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) separated tracked and wheeled vehicle activities. VRDE was made responsible for all wheeled vehicles while its sister establishment, the Combat Vehicles R&D Establishment, assigned responsibility for all tracked vehicles. In 1985, VRDE was also vested with responsibility for light tracked vehicles.

VRDE undertakes “research, design, development, and technical trials of all types of wheeled and light tracked vehicles” up to a class of 25 tons. It conducts “road worthiness, fuel efficiency, and pollution tests on vehicles and type testing of automotive engines.” The laboratory also interacts with India’s automobile industry to coordinate the introduction of vehicles into India’s defense forces. VRDE has developed several ground systems for India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. These include:

  • “Missile transport system” for “prepared” and “unprepared” missiles.
  • “Mobile isolate shelter” for Prithvi and Akash missile systems.
  • Tractor-cum-transporter for the 700km-range single-stage Agni-1 missile.
  • Safety vehicle to provide “soft, clean, and neutral water” for neutralizing the effects of red fuming nitric acid in the event of an accidental spillage on the missile operator or equipment and to extinguish small fires during Prithvi missile launches.
  • “Transport-cum-loader” vehicle for transporting Akash missiles from “tech battery to combat battery.”
  • “Launcher trailer” of four-ton capacity with a “hydraulically operated launcher boom with elevation/depression control from towing vehicle.”


[1] “Vehicles Research & Development Establishment,” Defence Research & Development Organisation, www.drdo.org.
[2] “Address Book,” Defence Research & Development Organisation, www.drdo.org.
[3] T.S. Subramaniam, “The significance of Agni-I,” Frontline, Volume 19, Issue 03, www.frontlineonnet.com.


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