Low cost, high volume products being developed; DRDO chief says scientists rising to the occasion

From adhesives used in submarines to special coating originally designed for high strength parachutes, India has been using spin offs from its available defence technology to quickly develop low cost, high volume equipment desperately needed in the fight against Covid-19.

More than half a dozen essential items—ranging from high protection face masks to full body protection suits and multi patient ventilators—have been churned out at high speed over the past week as the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has reoriented itself towards fighting the prevalent threat.

‘Missile man’ G Sateesh Reddy, who heads DRDO, said scientists throughout the country have been tasked with developing and sharing technologies at zero cost with the private sector to mass produce critical items identified by the government, with solutions being provided overnight and personnel working overtime to tackle stumbling blocks.

Reddy, who is also a member of the empowered working group tasked with ensuring adequate supply of medical equipment, shared with ET that more products are likely to be rolled out in the coming days in partnership with the industry as new needs arise.

“The scientific fraternity has felt the need of the hour and wants to use existing skills to create spin off technologies. We are coming out with quick solutions and products. Scientists have been working day and night to rise to the occasion,” Reddy told ET.

Even as DRDO—best known for its self-developed line of nuclear capable missiles that have given India its strategic deterrence—continues its regular work of design, analyses and review of weapon systems, several scientists and labs have been tasked to help civilian authorities on a war footing.

And, innovative solutions have come forward that are being quickly tested and successful technologies being transferred to the industry free of cost to mass produce items.

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