India's premier defence research agency will now have a commercial arm on the lines of the Indian space agency's Antrix to tap export markets, a senior official says. 'The proposed commercial arm will not only look at the civilian market for products made by our labs but also explore the export market,' chief controller for research and development of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Prahlada said during a media interaction here Friday. The DRDO, set up in 1958, has 52 laboratories engaged in developing defence technologies in various fields like aeronautics, armaments, electronics and computer sciences, human resource development, life sciences, materials, missiles, combat vehicles development and naval research and development. It employs more than 5,000 scientists and 25,000 technical and support personnel. Antrix, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), offers precision subsystems for spacecraft, propellant systems, satellite testing facilities and launch services. 'Impressed by the DRDO's programmes in making hi-tech products, a number of countries are knocking on our doors,' Prahlada said. Egypt, Italy, Britain and France are among the countries which have expressed interest in the DRDO's projects and products, he said. The DRDO recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South Korea to share expertise in areas such as the shipbuilding, steel, electronics and automobile industries. India also has joint venture defence projects with Russia, Israel and France. 'The projects, we believe, will boost the Indian defence sector and make us a globally stronger nation,' Prahlada noted. The DRDO is also planning to cater to the non-strategic market. 'The yet to be named arm will have a chief executive officer and the structure will be a replica of Antrix,' he added. On the home front, the defence agency has signed a deal with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to transfer the technology to the domestic market. The programme is named Accelerated Technology Assessment and Commercialisation (ATAC). It has been designed to help the firms to absorb DRDO's high-end technologies. A total of 46 contracts have been signed so far under the programme. 'The (DRDO-FICCI) joint venture has listed around 200 technologies for commercialisation,' Prahlada said. India's defence research agency eyes export markets What technologies is India going to export???