Dr. K. Ajith Kumar, Scientist ‘G’ assumed charge as Director NPOL, Kochi with effect from 1st June 2022. He holds a B.Tech Degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Kerala and M.Tech in Engineering Mechanics from IIT Madras. He completed his doctoral work in the area of Technology Management from Anna University, Tamil Nadu. He possesses an International Executive Diploma in Project Management, jointly awarded by the International Institute of Projects & Program Management, India and George Washington University School of Business, USA.
He joined the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in 1987 and was posted to the Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), Kochi as Scientist-B. He has more than 34 years of experience in design of sonar systems and subsystems for surface, subsurface and airborne Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) applications. His field of specialization includes Design of Underwater Engineering Systems and Systems Engineering. At NPOL, which specializes in developing underwater surveillance and communication systems for the Navy, he has handled various responsibilities as Project Manager, Project Director, Associate Director and Director (Science &Technology). In these capacities he has contributed to a number of projects and technology development programmes such as Submarine Sonar System – PANCHENDRIYA, Passive Towed Array Sonar – VASUKI, Active cum Passive Towed Array Sonar – NAGAN and the Advanced Torpedo System – MAAREECH. As Project Director of MAAREECH, he played a stellar role in developing the system in synergistic collaboration with other R&D labs, academia and industrial partners, and was instrumental in getting the first indigenous towed array based sonar inducted by the Indian Navy in multiple numbers.
As Associate Director (Systems Engineering & Technology Management), he played a pivotal role in ensuring implementation of Systems Engineering practices and processes in all projects / groups and establishing IT enabled technology management procedures, besides leading interactions with Indian Navy. Before taking over as Director, he served as Director(Science & Technology) in charge of all the technology groups of NPOL. He is credited with the formulation of the total plan and design of the ‘Integrated Maritime Surveillance Program – INMARS’ for the Indian Navy. INMARS comprises of multiple projects and systems for coastal /harbour, blue water operations and wide area surveillance of IOR region.
He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers (India), and member of professional bodies like the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Kerala Management Association (KMA), Institute of Smart Structures & Systems (ISSS), and Indian Society of Systems for Science & Engineering (ISSSE). Presently, he is also a member of the Board of Directors, Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation (KSEDC), Trivandrum and the Technology Director of Keltron Components, Kerala. Earlier, he also served as the Chairman of the Program Progress Monitoring Committee, Coastal Research Vessels, Ministry Of Earth Sciences (MOES), Govt. of India.
He received the DRDO ‘Agni Award for Excellence in Self Reliance’ for the year 2018 as the leader of Team MAAREECH. During the induction of MAAREECH in 2015, he received commendation and shield from the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri. He also received a number of awards at the laboratory level including the ‘Laboratory Scientist of the Year’ in 2006. He has one product patent to his credit besides more than 20 publications in journals / conferences. He has also published two monographs.