Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) progress report included likely induction of Agni-V next year and nuclear submarine Arihant getting ready for sea trials in about two months.
DRDO chief Avinash Chander interacted with mediapersons on the progress made in developing various defence systems to increase the country’s deterrent capabilities.
He said India was working on a “canisterised version” of Agni-V and the inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5,000 km would be ready for induction by next year.
He said canister-based version would increase the missile’s operational flexibility and make it practically undetectable.
Agni-V is three-stage solid propellant missile and has already been test-fired twice. Its previous variants are Agni-I (700 km), Agni-II (2,500 km), Agni-III (3,000 km) and Agni-IV (3,500 km).
Referring to Arihant, whose induction will make the long-awaited nuclear weapons triad an operational reality, Chander said the submarine will be ready for sea trials in about two months. He said weapons on the submarine will also be test fired in the coming months.
Chander termed cyber security as “biggest security challenge”, and said there was need of a new purchase process to get the country system that could not be “subverted”.
He said that leakage of information could take place in a subverted system and there was need to get exposure to the internal processes when acquiring a new system.
“Today, cyber security is our biggest security challenge…. This requires new paradigm in purchase processes. When we buy, we must buy with security in mind,” Chander said.
He said real cyber security could be ensured by taking adequate safety measures from the time software is developed.
“If real security (is to be ensured), answer lies (in getting involved) from the design stage,” he said, and added that it was difficult to do so in systems that were procured from outside the country.
Chander said India has the capability to build anti-satellite weapons but has no plans for any activity that affects peaceful use of space.
“Configurations are available. We are confident we can do it,” he said.
On main battle tank Arjun Mark II, he said user trials had been completed and a small issue with the missile system was being rectified.
Chander said progress had also been made in ballistic missile defence system.
He said system configuration was being freezed and first test with this configuration would take place in about a month.
Chander said while 2013 was “a year of transformation in DRDO”, several goals were set for 2014.
He said the Light Combat Aircraft is expected to get final operational clearance this year and Brahmos missile would be test-fired from SU-30 MKI fighter aircraft.
He said DRDO had actively partnered with the industry in several projects and was restructuring itself for the future.
Answering queries, Chander said India needs a policy framework for export of defence systems.
Chander said India, regarded as the largest importer of arms in the world, would achieve about 70 percent indigenisation in the coming few years.
Day two of the four-day Defexpo also saw two panel discussions with indigenisation as the main theme.
Participants and visitors went around stalls to get a feel of the displayed land and naval systems.
“The response is very positive. Defexpo is an excellent platform to forge partnerships,” said Namrata Gadhok, assistant vice-president, marketing communications and branding, Tech Mahindra Ltd.