Name: Lt.Gen. (Dr.) V.J.Sundaram

PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd.),B.Sc., BE (Mech), ME (Aero), Ph.D., FNAE, FIE, FAeSI, FISNT

Initial education, B.Sc (1953), BE-Mech(UVCE-1957) from Mysore University


Joining the Army in 1957 he did courses in electronics in EME and guided missiles at the Institute of Armament Technology, Pune. He completed ME (1972) and PhD (1983) in Aero at Indian Institute of Science, whilst in service. He worked on border roads in J&K (Naushera-Poonch) and the North-East (Bomdila-Sela Pass-Tawang) from 1959 to 1962. After the India-China War, he trained EME technicians in Bhopal to meet an urgent requirement, He served in XV Corps and 26 Infantry Division before commanding a workshop in 39 Inf Div.


He joined Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) in 1968. A crusader for Indigenous products and quality, he was Head of Structures, Missile Assembly and environmental testing for the successful Indigenization from 1972 to 1980 of an imported Surface-to-Air-Missile. He moved further to Indigenous Design, Development and Manufacture (IDDM) as part of the Indian Missile Program in which he led, from 1983, the flight vehicle design team for PRITHVI and was then its first Project Director. PRITHVI (95% Indigenous Content) is the first Indian missile to be inducted into India’s armed forces. He was awarded the National Aeronautical Prize for contributions to Prithvi.

He has participated in failure analyses of ASLV and PSLV. Taking over DRDL and Research Center Imarat (RCI) from Dr. Kalam, he had the overall responsibility for all Indian missile programs from 1992 to 1997. During this period he also put forward the concept of an indigenous Short Range Ballistic Missile Defence System using Prithvi variants. (It was demonstrated successfully in 2006).

Post Retirement

From 1997 to 2001, he headed the committee at ADA for indigenizing critical technologies denied to LCA (Tejas). He also chaired reviews of Aircraft Crashes. As Chairman of the Board of Governors of NDRF(IEI) from 2001 to 2004 he initiated R&D in Mini and Micro Air Vehicles culminating in the National Program for Micro Air Vehicles for applications in Disaster Management, Civil Governance and Defence as well as R&D in MAVs. His passion now is interfacing engineering with biology to develop Rodent and Insect Cyborgs to locate persons trapped under rubble.

  • Aryabhata Award(Astronautical Soc of India-1998)
  • Instr Soc India 2002 Life Time Achievement Awards
  • DRDO (2003)
  • Indian Society of NDT (2014)
  • Dr Abdul Kalam Award (GEPRA for Innovation/Dev in Aero Engg-2018)

Distinguished Alumnus – St Joseph’s College, UVCE, IISc (all Bangalore)

Current(Sep 2018)

He is with the Institution of Engineers (India) as

  • Chairman, Governing Council of Engineering Staff College of India
  • Advisor (Micro-Nano-Bio Systems), National Design and Research Forum

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