With yet another FIR filed on October 10 in the defence-related scams in India, points related to the pedestal performance of 'indigenous' missile development need to be highlighted.
Of the five missiles that the IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme) was mandated to build, only Prithvi and Agni have been inducted into the services. The other three, namely, Akash, Trishul and Nag, have been anything but a success for the DRDO. The Naval variant of the Prithvi missiles (Dhanush), is still in the development phase. Jane's Defense Weekly (Dec 2005) reports that constant delays in the surface-to-air missile Akash have forced the Indian Air Force to upgrade its SA-3 missiles with Polish help. Trishul, the quick reaction, low altitude, surface-to-air missile, is similarly dogged by problems related to its on-board sensors. Nag, the 'third generation' anti-tank missile, is likely to be outdated on the day of its induction. While the DRDO is often eulogised for its 'indigenous' technological achievements, the delays and persistent failures also need to be highlighted. After all, if these missiles could have been success stories, another scam could well have been averted... well, maybe not!