Amid ongoing Lok Sabha election, the government on Monday gave a year extension to Department of Defence R&D and Chairman (DRDO) chief Samir V Kamat, who was scheduled to retire on May 31. Now, he will be retiring on May 31, 2025.

"The Appointment Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal of the ministry of defence for extension in service of Dr Samir V Kamat, secretary, Defence Research and Development (DDR&D) and Chairman, DRDO for a period of one year from June 1, 2024 till May 31, 2025 or until further order, whichever is earlier," an official document said.

The extension has been given at a time when the government has set August 31, 2024 deadline for implementation of the former principal scientific advisor, Prof K. VijayRaghavan’s recommendation to revamp the country's premier defence research agency.

With Kamat at the helm of affairs, an Overseeing Committee has been set up to ensure review and implementation of the proposals. There are two other director generals in the committee.

Among the big reforms that have been proposed by the Raghvan committee, include speeding up of the projects, evaluating projects and scientists, maximising industry, MSME and academia participation in defence technologies, financial framework to encourage risk-taking research.

A graduate in Metallurgical Engineering from IIT-Kharagpur and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from The Ohio State University, USA, Dr Kamat joined DRDO in 1989.

During his service in DRDO, Dr Kamat has spearheaded several critical materials programmes like the development of high strength steels for naval ship hulls, development of high temperature titanium alloys and nickel-base super alloy-based components for aero engines, development of tungsten heavy alloys for kinetic energy penetrators, development of fused Silica Radomes for missile seekers, development of armour solutions for personnel as well as combat vehicles and stealth materials for airborne and naval applications.

These have found use in various systems being developed by DRDO laboratories.

In addition, he has super-headed the development of naval systems such as advanced lightweight torpedo, anti-torpedo decoy systems, autonomous underwater vehicles, advanced hull-mounted and towed array sonars for ships, and fuel cells based air-independent propulsion systems for submarines.

Dr Kamat is a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) and Institution of Engineers India (IEI).

He is a recipient of Distinguished Alumni Award from IIT-Kharagpur, Metallurgist of the Year Award by the Ministry of Steel, and Scientist of the Year award from DRDO. He has published more than 180 papers in international peer-reviewed journals.

(With Agency Inputs)