1. Top missile scientist DrTessy Thomas has been appointed as the Director General, Aeronautical Systems (DG-Aero) of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).


  1. The appointment is on expected lines as DrTessy was selected as the top choice for the post a month back, to replace the current incumbent C P Ramanarayanan, who is set to retire on May 31. She will take charge on June 1.


  1. Currently she is the Director of Advanced Systems Laboratories (ASL), Hyderabad.


  1. DrTessy, already celebrated as the first woman DRDO woman scientist to head any missile program, will be DRDO’s third DG (Aero) following the restructuring a couple of years back.


  1. She also becomes DRDO’s second woman DG (at the technical level) with J Manjula being the first, currently heading the Electronics and Communication Systems cluster. Manjula was appointed in September 2015. DrTessy will now shift her operational base from her favourite Missile Complex in Hyderabad to C V Raman Nagar in Bangalore.


  1. A palatial office, functioning out of Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), awaits her. She will now be responsible for all programmes under the Aero Cluster, which is part of the seven wings of DRDO.


  1. While her expertise all through has been on missiles, the appointment has already raised some eyebrows within DRDO. “Yet again a very talented and committed soul gets a wrong posting,” was a cryptic response from a DRDO insider.


  1. The Aero cluster labs that will be under DrTessy’s command, include: Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE), Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), Centre For Air Borne System (CABS), Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) and Agra-based Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE).


  1. Interestingly, DrTessy has named her son after Tejas, a program she will have to now propel with renewed vigour. The Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of Tejas, the future of India’s lone sub-sonic cruise missile Nirbhay and progress of Rustom-2 UAV will top her menu.


  1. Tessy will also have to placate a section of DRDO scientists in Bangalore, who have been ‘sidelined’ after refusing to toe the line of former DRDO chairman Dr S Christopher, who retired on May 28 (yesterday).


  1. Hailing from Alappuzha in Kerala, DrTessy’s father was an accountant in a private firm and mother in-charge of house chores. Despite financial constraints, she completed her B Tech (Electrical) from Thrissur Engineering College and later ME (Guided Missiles) from Pune University. Recently she was awarded her PhD in Missile Guidance from JNTU Hyderabad.


  1. The 1963-born scientist has close to 30 years of service in DRDO. Often referred to as the ‘Agni Putri,’ following her long association with the Agni series of missiles, DrTessy has her task cut out with a series of delayed programmes already queuing up for attention.
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