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Guest of Honour

Engineers’ Day - 2018

Padmavibhushan Hon. Dr. Vasudev K. Aatre

Ex. Director General, DRDO

Hon. Dr. V. K. Aatre had his early education in Karnataka and obtained his BE degree from University of Mysore in 1961. This was followed by ME from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1963 and PhD. from University of Waterloo, Canada in 1967 all in electrical Engineering. After a short stint as post doctoral fellow, he served on the Faculty of Engineering Technical University of Nova Scotia, Halifax Canada as Professor of Electrical Engineering from 1968 to 1980. During 1977 he was visiting professor in the department of Electrical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science.

In 1980 he returned to India and took up a job as Principle Scientific Officer at the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory of Defene Research and Development Organization at Cochin. Within a short period of four years he became the Director of NPOL and served in NPOL till 1991. In 1991 he moved to the Head Quarters of DRDO as Chief Controller (R&D). He became a Distinguished Scientist of DRDO in 1996. In 1999 he was appointed as Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister (SA to RM), Director General DRDO, Director of Aeronautical Development Agency, and Secretary Department of Defence R&D. He served in this capacity till his superannuation in August 2005. He is now a Visiting Professor at the IISc, Bengaluru.

After spending over a decade in academic environment Dr. Aatre transformed himself to a technologist and technology manager through his work in DRDO. During his stint as Professor of Electrical Engineering, he specialized in the field of Signal Processing, guided several students for Masters and PhD. Degrees. Besides publishing over 60 technical papers, he has authored a popular text book for under graduate Electrical Engineering students.

During his tenure at NPOL he spearheaded the development and productionisation of sophisticated Underwater Technology (sonar suites and transducers) for the Indian Navy. Indeed due to this work, Indian Navy is rendered totally self reliant in sonar systems for all its three dimensions. He was also responsible for the design and construction of the first highly Instrumented Ocean Acoustic Research Ship – Sagaradwani – in India.

During his tenure as CC R&D, he played a key role in the development of highly complex and sophisticated Integrated Electronic Warfare Systems for Indian Army and Navy, in the establishment of silicon VLSI/ASIC design Centers, in the setting up of design centers and fabrication facility for Gallium-Arsenide MMICs, and in combating shortage & lack-of-availability of electronic components and devices.

    As DG R&D (and SA to RM) he directed 51 laboratories to achieve self reliance in Defence Technologies and Systems. During his tenure India's Light Combat Aircraft - Tejas – took to the sky for the first time and completed over 300 flights, went supersonic and several prototypes took part in the Aero India shows. It was also during this period that the India's strategic IRBM was operationalised. Besides giving overall boost to research and development in vast array of technologies, Dr. Aatre was deeply involved in the Human Resource Development in DRDO.

Dr. Aatre has been at the hub of developmental work in the emerging area of Smart Materials and Micro-electro-mechanical-systems or MEMS. Besides conceptualising and directing the multi-departmental (DST, DRDO, DOS, CSIR, and DIT) and multi-institutional National Program on Smart Materials, he is the founder President of Institute of Smart Structures & Systems which is deeply involved in the human resource development in this area and in productizing MEMS through industries and applications in various areas including automobile and biomedical fields. Recently he has coauthored a text book on Smart Materials and MEMS.

During four decades of his career as a teacher, researcher, technologist, and technology manager, Dr. Aatre has been an exceptional leader & excellent mentor. During his illustrious career he has been honoured with several awards and fellowships of several societies.


  • IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, USA)
  • Distinguished Fellow IETE
  • Institution of Engineers, India
  • Indian National Academy of Engineering
  • Indian National Academy of Sciences
  • Acoustical Society of India
  • Aeronautical Society of India
  • Ultrasonic Society of India
  • Systems Society of India

  • Scientists of the year DRDO – 1986
  • Vasvik award for electronics and Communication – 1996
  • Ram Lal Wadhawa Gold Medal IETE – 1998
  • Technology Leadership Award DRDO – 1998
  • Distinguished Alumni, IISc – 1998
  • Nayudamma Memorial Award - 2000
  • DS Kothari Gold Medal Indian Science Congress Association – 2001
  • Instrument Society of India Medal – 2003
  • Indian Engineering Congress Award - 2003
  • Visvesvaraiah Vignana Puraskara – 2005
  • Eminent Engineer, Institute of Engineers - 2005
  • Material Society of India Gold Medal - 2007
  • National Systems Gold Medal - Systems Society of India - 2009
  • Lifetime Achievement Award Systems Society of India – 2010
  • Distinguished Alumni, UVCE, Bangalore - 2011
  • Life time achievement Award Metabolic Society of India -2012
  • Honorary Doctorate Degree – University of Hyderabad
  • Life Time Achievement Award from Karnataka S&T Academy – 2015
  • Doctor of Science (Honorius Causa), VTU, 2015
  • Life time Achievement Award from Indian National Academy of Engineering,2016
  • Life time Achievement Award from DRDO, 2016