INTEGRATED GUIDED MISSILE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
The idea of launching the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme came in 1979, when a committee was established under the MoD, with the then DRDO DG, Raja Ramanna as the chair. The committee is popularly known as ‘Missile Policy Committee’. Besides recommending the launching of an ‘Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP)’, the Committee recommended the “procurement, development and production of missiles for the three Services in the short term, as also to build up the infrastructure in certain areas so as to take up projects for development of more sophisticated missiles in the long term”.
The Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) was responsible for developing missiles. The then DRDO DG, Raja Ramanna suggested in 1981 that Dr. Abdul Kalam be appointed as director of DRDL to run the missile development project. As project director, Abdul Kalam and his team successfully concluded the SLV-3 programme at ISRO in 1979.
By this time, a considerable amount of technological, industrial and human resources were also available. At the DRDL, a high level committee called the ‘Missile Technology Committee’ was formed under Dr. Abdul Kalam. Deliberations in this body resulted in the formulation of the basic plan, which was later fine tuned, for the development of guided missiles. Dr. Abdul Kalam had written that the IGMDP is a product of a ‘detailed study’ conducted in 1982 “for evolving missile systems in order to counter the emerging threats to the security of India”.
The programme was launched on 27 July 1983 at DRDL, Hyderabad by the then DRDO DG, V. S. Arunachalam. Dr. APJ. Abdul Kalam was inducted as the DRDL Director in 1983. The aim of IGMDP is to achieve self sufficiency in military missile production and development.
Four projects to be pursued concurrently under IGMDP was planned.
- Short range SURFACE TO SURFACE MISSILE – PRITHVI
- Short range low – level SURFACE TO AIR MISSILE – TRISHUL
- Medium range SURFACE TO AIR MISSILE – AKASH
- Third Generation ANTI TANK MISSILE – NAG
- Intermediate range SURFACE TO SURFACE MISSILE – AGNI
The Agni missile was initially conceived in the IGMDP as a technology demonstrator project in the form of a re-entry vehicle and was later upgraded to a ballistic missile with different ranges. As part of this program, the Integrated Test Range, Balasore, Wheeler Island in Orissa was also developed for missile testing.
During this period, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) kicked in 1987. This made the task much tougher as complex high end technologies were restricted to India. To counter MTCR, the IGMDP team came up with a consortium of laboratories, Industries and academic collaboration to develop the required complex technologies indigenously.
The programme was a great achievement in all aspects and on 8, January, 2008, the DRDO formally announced the successful completion of IGMDP.
Achieved targets are:-
• Prithvi series of missile has been inducted.
• Akash missile has been inducted and Akash Mk II is under development .
• Nag ATGM will undergo final user trials in May and June this year with production of the weapon system expected to kick off later in 2019.
• Trishul missile system has been completed as "Technology Demonstrator" due to delay in development of state-of-the-art technology and change in requirement of Armed Forces.
Agni re-entry "Technology Demonstrator" project has been completed successfully and technology is used for Agni series of missile.
With diplomatic efforts of more than 2 decades, India became a member of the MTCR in the year 2016. It is noteworthy that China is not part of the MTCR.
Today, India is a major world power in missiles design, development, manufacturing and production (Indigenously). Land, Air, Sea and underwater missile variants have been developed. Subsonic and Supersonic cruise missiles have been developed. Hypersonic missile capability is under development. All this expertise is due to the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme that kick started in 1983 with the 1st missile test flight (PRITHVI) in 1988.
Strength meets strength said Dr. Kalam. For his great contributions, Wheeler Island is renamed as Dr. Abdul Kalam Island.
Hope we all put the same efforts in all sectors. Indigenisation is the only way we become a Superpower.