Realizing the importance of guided missile weapon systems in the modern warfare, a Special Weapon Development Team (SWDT) was formed in 1958. This team was later expanded into DRDL, a full-fledged laboratory in June 1961 at the campus of Defence Science Centre, Delhi. The laboratory was moved to Hyderabad in February 1962, from where starts the story of guided missiles in India.
During the initial phase, the laboratory successfully developed an anti-tank missile system and indigenous rockets and proved them through flight trials. In 1972, Project Devil, for the development of a medium range Surface-to-Surface Missile was initiated. A large number of infrastructure and test facilities were established during this period.
The main facilities established during this period included Aerodynamic, Structural and Environmental test facilities, Liquid and Solid propulsion facilities; fabrication and engineering facilities; Control, Guidance, FRP, Rubber component facilities, computer centers, ground and flight instrumentation and onboard power supplies development facilities. The development of components / systems for Project Devil formed the technology base for the future IGMDP Programme.
1982 onwards DRDL took a quantum jump by taking up the design and development of various types of missiles systems simultaneously and leading them to limited series production under Integrated Guided Missiles Development Programme (IGMDP).
Today DRDL, along with other Missile Complex Laboratories is the pioneer Missile Research laboratory in the country.