Chennai, Apr 13 (PTI) The DRDO has earmarked Rs 18,000 crore as investment plans for the current fiscal, which includes developing the next generation lighter Brahmos missile, a top official said today.

The country’s premier defence research institute has allocated about 25-30 per cent for developing new projects during the current financial year, Defence Research and Development Organisation Chairman S Christopher said.

Christopher, who is also Secretary, Research and Development, DRDO, was outlining some of the major initiatives to be taken up during the this fiscal at the ongoing DefExpo.

The defence exhibition was formally inaugurated yesterday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Thiruvidanthai, about 40kms from here.

“As far as funding is concerned, for this year it is about Rs 18,000 crore. Nearly 25-30 per cent will be going in for newer projects,” he said.

BrahMos Aerospace, CEO and Managing Director, Sudhir Mishra said, “We have a proposal to develop BrahMos next generation missiles which will be termed as BrahMos NG missile.” “This missile would be lighter than existing BrahMos and will have almost similar kind of ranges and would be able to launched from various platforms,” he said.

As the missiles would be lighter, BrahMos was also also planning to have more launches from submarines, ships and aircraft, the chairman said.

DRDO, Director General, Electronics and Communication Systems, J Manjula said DRDO was working on long range radars that can cover over 1,000 kilometres.

“We are also working on developing self-protection suites for fighter aircrafts and also working on electro-optic surveillance systems for submarines,” she said.

DRDO Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri, G Satheesh Reddy, said they were working on “anti-tank missiles” which can be launched both from helicopter and the ground.

“Some of the projects that we have in the pipeline is developing long range version of surface-to-air missile (SAM),” he added.

The DRDO chairman said the organisation was also planning to take up “high endurance autonomous under water vehicle” for surveillance applications and also developing “autonomous surface ship”.

DRDO, Director General (SAM), Chitra Rajgopal said they were working on developing safe-storage solution for ammunition.

“We are also looking at underground solutions which are not so expensive by using various innovative features. In addition, we are also looking at eco-friendly disposal of obsolete ammunition,” she said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.