Exclusive Video Interview with DRDO Chief Dr. V.K. Saraswat
On nuclear Triad (Part-2)
Part: 1 2
The Scientific Advisor to the Raksha Mantri and DG, DRDO Dr. V.K. Saraswat has stressed on the need to develop capability for longer ranges of submarine based missiles. In an exclusive interview to your portal, he outlines the progress in the sub-surface nuclear missile programme to achieve full nuclear triad deterrent for the nation. Here are the excerpts of a detailed interview with Sushil Sharma, Managing Editor of Bharat Defence Kavach.
SS: According to our nuclear policy, in we need to have a nuclear deterrent triad. Unfortunately the third element, that is the subsurface element is not fully in place. Even the 700 kms range missile programme tests have not been completed. Do you think this worries you?
VKS: In fact our country has made a lot of progress as far as the launch of missiles underwater is concerned. It's all very complex technology. You will appreciate that it requires development of various majors like passing the missile through the underwater scenario. Then overcoming what you call as the bubble and finally it has to have its flight through the atmosphere. Now all these aspects of the underwater launch have been today completely realised as part of our program. As reported in the press earlier, we have carried out many launches to actually get the best expertise in that area.
What is remaining is integration of the system with the vessel which is also on today. I don't perceive any problem because whatever technology development was needed, we have completed. Now its a question of integration and demonstration as and when the vessel is ready on the vessel. We have the capability but since it is presently only 700 kms, we will have to build a capability to cover longer ranges and that programme also will have to be initiated as and when the threat evolves.
SS: If we see the track record of missile development in India, we see that it took very long time upto two decades to test initial missiles like Prithvi and Agni 1 and 2, but now we see that the higher versions are getting ready well within the proposed time. What is the reason for this gap in meeting the targets?
VKS: The question is very good. You must realise the state of readiness of our country particularly, DRDO and the Indian industry and the Indian academia, in 1978-79 and 80s when the Dhanush missile programmes were initiated.We were actually trying to setup the technology base from building missiles at that point of time and that was not only in DRDO but also in the industry. The situation was that everything was to be done was in-house. There was no support available from anywhere. Industry support was very very poor. We had tremendous impact of control regime at that time. The window to the West was also closed. As a result whatever we had planned to procure from outsied, we had to start building it within our own domain. That took us time.
Now after completing Prithvi, Agni, tactical missile like Akash and even Agni-1 and Agni-2, major technology components which are required for building missile today are now indigenously produced. I will name a few, for example- solid rocket motors, the navigation systems, re-entry vehicle structures and electro mechanical actuators-these are all denied items, and since they were denied, we had to set-up plants for their production. Se had to set up plants for manufacturing raw materials for doing things.
All these processes which were essential for making the systems they had to be actually together that took us time. But during 80s and 90s this case had been completed. When we started working on Agni-3 in 2000 and Agni-4 in 2005, it took us less time because now we had the capability to get all the components in shortest possible time.