Dr Tessy Thomas, who is the project director for Agni-IV missile in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is hailed as the ‘Missile Woman of India’ and Agniputri due to her contribution in developing the deadly projectiles. She had joined the DRDO in 1988. She is believed to belong to a rare set of women who have worked on strategic nuclear ballistic missiles in the world. In the traditionally male dominated field, she has carved out a place for herself.
Thomas belongs to a Roman Catholic family in Alleppey in southern Kerala. She completed her BTech (Electrical) from Calicut University, ME (Guided Missiles) from Poona University, MBA in Operations Management, and a PhD in Missile Guidance.
After her M.Tech, she was appointed by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for Agni-III missile project (range: 3000 km).
At the moment, she is the leading ballistic missiles expert in the country. She has also been the project director for DRDO’s Agni IV and V missiles, right from their inception. As a project and technology leader, she has been instrumental in mission design, infrastructure development, process and product development, of the missile development program. After the Agni project, she had designed an advanced guiding system for missiles.
She has also worked on path-breaking technology called Re-entry Vehicle System or RVS, that makes it easy for the missiles to re-enter in the atmosphere with a thundering velocity along with high temperature.
When asked about her view on working on such ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ she said she think them as “weapons of peace”.
Without any doubt, women like Tessy Thomas serves as a role model and an inspiration for women scientists who want to achieve their dreams.