Bangalore: Dr VS Arunachalam, who pioneered India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), as also the light combat aircraft (LCA) and the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) programmes, in the decades of the 1980's has been awarded the prestigious Brahm Prakash Memorial Medal for 2007 by the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), New Delhi.
The award, carries a medal and an honorarium of Rs10,000, and is awarded once every three years to a scientist or an engineer for their outstanding contribution in the field of engineering and technology.
Dr VS Arunachalam, former scientific adviser to the defence minister and a distinguished technocrat, is currently chairman of the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy, a city-based think-tank.
In his address to a conference on "An Indian Century: Science, Technology And Policy" at the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), Hyderabad, in 2005, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, President of the Republic paid the following tribute to Dr VS Arunachalam.
In his address to the conference the President said, "This conference is definitely a fitting tribute to Dr VS Arunachalam on his 70th birthday, who has been actively engaged in the formulation of science and technology policy for the nation apart from his unique contribution in the material science, research and teaching….
…The period 1982-1992 was an important decade for the DRDO. During this period three major programmes were sanctioned due to the leadership of Dr. Arunachalam. One was the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), second was light combat aircraft and the third was ATV programme.
This is the first time the DRDO budget was increased from 2% of the defence budget to four per cent of the defence budget. This was the time innovation in management was also brought in DRDO. A Board of Management structure was created for IGMDP, a society structure was created for LCA and a hybrid structure was created for ATV.
DRDO graduated in this period from an import substitution establishment to a full-fledged system design and development organization. Scientists' strength of DRDO also grew to six thousand. Dr. V.S. Arunachalam was responsible for injecting these innovations in DRDO. When others were thinking of small projects Dr. Arunachalam thought of big programmes for the DRDO….
…Many programmes which he envisioned in the eighties have now fructified in to full fledged systems. The visionary action taken by Dr. Arunachalam has resulted in two of the strategic missile systems being led into production. The Armed Forces have deployed the systems."
The previous winners of this award include S Banerjee, Director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Deekshatalu, former Director of the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA).