SOURCE: NARAYAN APTE/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
In 2014, Then DRDO chief Avinash Chander had made a bold claim to the media that “Our target is to make India missile-import free by the year 2022. This means that we need not import any missile in terms of air-to-ground, surface-to-air, or the air-to-air missiles,”. In 2022, We saw the Government push towards putting further curbs towards import of the various weapons systems and recently we saw the scrapping of the deal for Igla-S Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) for the Indian Army, but DRDO is nowhere close to targets it had made for its self.
DRDO somewhat has managed to achieve its goals in the ballistic missile programs but still has not been able to achieve great success in other major missile programs like the development of the sub-sonic cruise missile and anti-tank guided and portable missile systems as they continued to be tested for an unforeseen period of times without entering production.
when it comes to the development of the air to air missiles, DRDO has achieved success in this field with the development of the Astra Mk1 Beyond Visual range of missile but it has entered only limited scale production and longer and better missile systems in terms of Mk2 and Mk3 are yet to start their developmental trials and are still a few years away from entering production while it seems, IAF will continue to import air to air missiles for various aircraft types from time to time till then.
When it comes to Air to Surface category of missiles we have seen the development of BrahMos-A and NGRAM but these two programs can’t cover the full sphere of missile type requirements as the development of the Rudram series of missile continue including air-launched sub-sonic cruise missile program are yet to be tested and IAF has plans to procure more imported missiles in the category to arm them over various types.
DRDO has tested QR-SAM and Akash NG along with VL-SRAAM that are all air defense systems but none has entered production yet and the development of long-range XRSAM is yet to take place. DRDO is yet to confirm if there is a plan to develop a local air defense system that can supplement the S-400 system soon as India already has been offered an S-500 system.
DRDO’s 2022 claim depends on how you look at missile development in the country, Is the glass half empty or half full? We are not there yet but we have made some serious progress in this field that many countries will envy.