Country’s prestigious Missile Complex in Hyderabad would be named as “Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Missile Complex”. The landmark event will take place at Research Centre Imarat (RCI) on October 15 on the occasion of the 84th Birth Anniversary of Dr Kalam, the “Missile Man”. The Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will be present in the event.
Dr Kalam had joined Missile Complex, DRDO in 1982 and was a part of it for nearly two decades. The Missile Complex comprises Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI) which is considered to be the brain child of Dr Kalam. As founder Director, Dr Kalam conceived and steered RCI as a generator of critical missile technologies.
After graduating from the Madras Institute of Technology in 1960, Kalam joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist. In 1969, Kalam was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) where he was the project director of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near-earth orbit in July 1980.
Between the 1970s and 1990s, Kalam made an effort to develop the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and SLV-III projects, both of which proved to be successful.
In the 1970s, Kalam also directed two projects, Project Devil and Project Valiant, which sought to develop ballistic missiles from the technology of the successful SLV programme.
Despite the disapproval of the Union Cabinet, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi allotted secret funds for these aerospace projects through her discretionary powers under Kalam’s directorship.
In 1980s, the government decided to initiate an advanced missile programme under his directorship. Kalam and Dr V S Arunachalam, metallurgist and scientific adviser to the then Defence Minister, worked on a proposal for simultaneous development of a quiver of missiles instead of taking planned missiles one after another.
The then defence minister, R Venkatraman got the cabinet approval for allocating 388 crores for the mission, named Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) and appointed Kalam as the chief executive. Kalam played a major part in developing many missiles under the mission including Agni, an intermediate range ballistic missile and Prithvi, the tactical surface-to-surface missile, although the projects have been criticised for mismanagement and cost and time overruns.
Kalam served as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of the Defence Research and Development Organisation from July 1992 to December 1999. The Pokhran-II nuclear tests were conducted during this period in which he played an intensive political and technological role.
Later in 2002, he became 11th President of India.