Monday, September 13, 2010

DRDO plans to form commercial arm by year-end

DRDO plans to form a commercial arm by year-end as it seeks to put in place an aggressive approach towards marketing and commercialisation of its products and technologies and exports, a senior official said.

DRDO was exploring the possibility of export of Akash and Nag missiles besides the Light Combat Aircraft (Trainer) among others, developed by it, DRDO Research and Development chief controller Prahlada said, adding the proposed venture would be similar to Antrix, the marketing arm of ISRO.

"If not today, tomorrow we want to start export," Prahlada said after unveiling the logo of newly formed Bangalore Defence and Aerospace Journalists' Forum (BDAJF) and delivering the inaugural talk.

"We would have a commercial arm for export of defence items... so that we are going to see a different type of business models," he said.

He noted that DRDO already has a franchisee kind of arrangement with industry body FICCI, which is facilitating marketing of some 10 DRDO-developed products to the industry.

A particular country has come forward to market battlefield surveillance radar developed by DRDO and if it comes through, the order would be worth several hundreds of crores of rupees, Prahlada said.

In the next two-decades, India is projected to overtake many countries including France, UK and Israel to become the world number two, behind China, in terms of defence-related activities, including production. It is not clear if the US would continue to invest in this sector.

In the next 10-15 years, he said DRDO's role would only be limited to being a "think-tank" in government R&D areas, with industries getting into play in a big way.

The department of Science and Technology and Planning Commission were in a dialogue to put in place a formal mechanism to take the fruits of R&D in DRDO, ISRO and department of Atomic Energy to non-strategic departments, state governments and districts, he added.

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