The origin of the Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) dates to 1949 when the Government of India invited Dr J. E. Keyston of the Royal Naval Scientific Service, UK to advise on the establishment of a Scientific Organization to assist the Indian Navy. Consequently, the Indian Naval Physical Laboratory (INPL) was set up in 1952 as an in-house laboratory of the Indian Navy for providing scientific support. The laboratory was in a barrack at the Naval Base, Kochi. When the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) was formed in 1958, INPL was absorbed into the new organization. Later in 1969, when oceanography assumed a principal role in the research interests of the Laboratory, INPL was rechristened Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL). NPOL has grown from a fleet support laboratory of the Indian Navy to a sonar systems developer during the last six decades. Today, NPOL stands tall with great pride for its outstanding achievements and contributions in the areas of Sonar research and development for Indian Navy.
The vintage systems of 1980 evolved with wire wrapped models followed by Development and Engineering the system for onboard trials by the production agency. Then the laboratory graduated to a model where orders were directly placed with the production agency based on NPOL's design and prototype. With the advent of industrial infrastructure in the 2000's NPOL implemented another model system development was done concurrently with industries also.
Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) started as a field unit of Indian Navy for the servicing of electro-acoustic transducers. Then slowly, it graduated into ocean data collection and its interpretation, followed by servicing of electronic equipment.