New Delhi: Radar specialist S. Christopher took charge as the new director general of DRDO and its secretary on Friday morning, with the appointment being welcomed by defence scientists and officials.
Christopher, who was on Thursday night appointed chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the premier defence research agency, for two years by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, flew to Delhi Friday morning and took charge.
Christopher was heading the Bengaluru-based Centre for Airborne Systems and the project to develop an airborne early warning and control system before his new appointment.
An Electronics & Communication Engineering from University of Madras and, Christopher has done an M.Tech. in Microwaves and Radar Engineering from IIT, Kharagpur.
Earlier, DRDO chief was also the scientific adviser to the defence minister. But the post has now been split and Missile scientist G.S. Reddy appointed as the scientific adviser to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for two years on Thursday night.
Reddy is one of the renowned experts in Navigation and Avionics technologies.
Under his leadership, advanced products and varieties of Avionics systems have been produced and successfully flight-tested in strategic programmes of the country.
DRDO scientists and officials, meanwhile, welcomed the appointment, saying that functional difficulties had cropped up due to the absence of a full-time DRDO chief.
"It is a welcome step; without a full-time chief cost the DRDO in the last four months; impacted the work as coordination was suffering," a senior DRDO official told IANS.
The DRDO was without a full-time chief for around four months ever since Avinash Chander was unceremoniously removed on January 31.
Parrikar recently said that the absence of a full-time DRDO chief was being compensated with more powers to cluster heads.
A DRDO official, however, maintained that it did not solve the problem.
"Coordination between clusters is needed for smooth running of things. That is where the problem was," said an official aware of the developments.
A senior scientist, meanwhile, said that some tests also suffered due to lack of clear guidance.
"Some tests suffered because there was lack of clarity. There was no clear boss; it makes a lot of difference," said the scientist.
Officials also appreciated the decision to split the post of DRDO chief to appoint a separate scientific adviser to the defence minister.
"The role of scientific adviser must extend beyond the DRDO. There are other departments, like ordnance factories, which also need to be focused upon. This is a good move," a senior scientist told IANS.
"The DRDO chief and scientific adviser will have to work in close coordination though; a new structure is now expected to evolve," the scientist added.
Christopher's predecessor Chander held the posts of director general, DRDO, and scientific adviser to the defence minister, and secretary DRDO.
Defence Secretary R.K. Mathur was later given the additional charge of secretary DRDO.
Mathur retired on May 24.