Eminent mechanical technologist M Natrajan, project director of the country's indigenous Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun, has been appointed as the new head of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
He replaces Dr V K Atre, who retires on Tuesday. He will also concurrently hold the post of scientific adviser to the defence minister, according to an official announcement in Delhi.
Natrajan is the DRDO's Chief Controller of Research and Development for armaments, combat vehicles and engineering equipment. Other contenders for the top post in defence research were eminent missile scientists R N Agarwal and A S Pillai.
Agarwal is serving as mission director of the prestigious surface-to-surface Agni, Prithvi, surface-to-air Akash and anti-tank Nag missile project, while Pillai is the chief executive officer of the Indo-Russian supersonic BrahMos cruise missile project.
Natrajan, an IIT, Chennai, alumni, is a specialist in combat vehicles and has overseen development of the Experimental Hybrid Tank which combines the Arjun's gun with the chasis of the Russian T-72 tank. He has also overseen the development of a self-propelled gun beam and Pinaka, multi-barrel rocket launcher.
External Link: DRDO website