During the World War I period, there was a requirement to form an establishment to cater to the technical needs of Indian Armed Forces. Accordingly, a Laboratory with the name of Chief Inspectorate of Mechanical Transport Establishment was set up at Chaklala (now situated in Pakistan) during 1929. This Establishment was responsible for undertaking the tasks relating to mechanical transport of Armed Forces particularly.
Consequent to the partition of India, a need was felt to set up a research laboratory in India, which would handle the tasks earlier assigned to Chief Inspectorate of Mechanical Transport Establishment, Chaklala. Accordingly, Govt. of India accorded sanction for creation of a Technical Development Establishment (Vehicles) [TDE - Vehicles] at Ahmednagar during 1947. After the inception of DRDO in 1958, this ‘TDE’ was re-designated as ‘Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (VRDE)’.
During 1965, a need was felt to set up an independent DRDO establishment adjacent to Heavy Vehicle Factory (HVF), Ordinance Factory, Avadi for handling R&D tasks relating to armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs). Accordingly, an R&D cell from VRDE, Ahmednagar, was set up at Avadi with the name as ‘VRDE, Avadi' during the year 1967. This detachment grew into a full-fledged R&D Establishment in 1969. Later, this was made as an independent establishment and rechristened as ‘‘Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE)'' on 26 March 1975. Since then, CVRDE has made vital contributions to the development of AFVs and its subsystems for the Indian Armed Forces.