In the second part of the interview, DRDO Chief Dr G Satheesh Reddy talks about the progress made in various projects including the Main Battle Tank for the Indian Army, Light Combat Aircraft and other platforms. Following are the excerpts.
What are the plans for the Main Battle Tank (MBT) ‘Arjun’? Have the technical issues been resolved?
‘Arjun’ is one of the best in the class of Main Battle Tanks. Improvements suggested by the user during the exploitation of the first two regiments of Arjun and a number of upgrades like Track Width Mine Plough (TWMP), Remote Control Weapon System, Explosive Reaction Armour, Automatic Target Tracking, Commander’s Panoramic Sight with Night Vision, etc., have been incorporated in Mk1A version which has undergone user trials.
124 MBTs have already been manufactured at Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and delivered to the Indian Army. Production capacity exists to meet the Army demand. Placement of indent for additional regiments of Arjun MBT Mk 1A is likely to happen soon.
By when do you think the AIP will be ready to be integrated on the Indian Navy’s submarines?
The AIP has passed the development trials demonstrating the endurance test at limited power levels. Full power trials are scheduled this year. Parallelly, work is also going on in chalking out an integration plan on the submarines by 2024.
Do you have a supply chain like some of the foreign companies have here?
The Indian private sector is involved in the development of various subsystems for DRDO and becomes part of the supply chain during the production phase after successful evaluation of the system. The supply chain of vendors for all products developed by DRDO gets established by the time the evaluation of the system is completed.
Transfer of Technology (TOT) is provided to the concerned industries. The industries working with DRDO have developed good capability and have become established as a proven vendor base for DRDO developed systems.