Make way for the Missile Woman of India: Tessy Thomas

Tessy Thomas - Missile woman of India

Tessy Thomas - Missile woman of India

On 24th November, NITI Aayog announced Tessy Thomas as a Global Entrepreneurship Summit (2017) speaker in a tweet. Mahindra Group chairman, Anand Mahindra quoted the tweet about her and the tweet took Internet by storm. Mr. Mahindra also said, “Tessy deserves to be more famous than the biggest Bollywood star.”  This is the reason Tessy Thomas is in the limelight, but this shouldn’t be all as she has myriad reasons to stay in the limelight.

Who is Tessy Thomas?

We all know that former President APJ Abdul Kalam was known as the Missile Man of India. What is not so commonly known is India also has a female counterpart of the title – Tessy Thomas fondly known as Agniputri or Missile woman of India. She is one of the country’s leading experts in ballistic missiles and the first woman in India to head a Missile Project.

Here is all you need to know about Tessy Thomas

  • She was born in April 1963 in Alappuzha, Kerala; which is also known as Venice of east.
  • She was born to an IFS officer father and a homemaker mother.
  • She was named after Mother Teresa.
  • She is married to a Centre for Multi-disciplinary Development Research  (CMDR) officer named Saroj Kumar Patel. They have a son named Tejas Patel.
  • She grew up next to a Missile launching station and was fascinated with missiles from a very early age.
  • She was a good badminton player during her school and college life.
  • She has done her B.Tech from Thrissur Engineering College, Calicut University. She has also done ME in guided Missiles from Defense Institute of Armament Technology, Poona University; MBA in operations management and Phd in Missile Guidance.
  • She had designed an advanced Missile system during her M.Tech. It changed her life and the history of Indian Missile project.
  • Her profile in the GES-2017 speakers’ list is exemplary; it reads, “She is a fellow of prominent professional bodies like INAE, IEI, TAS and Senior Member of IEEE, ASI, and AeSI. She has also received Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) from five different universities.”

In 1998, she had joined Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), where she had worked under Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Since then, her contributions in Missile projects have been eminently illustrious. Her career at DRDO has been more than 24 years, and she has contributed to Guidance Control, Inertial Navigation, Trajectory Simulation and Mission Design.

She has also designed the guidance scheme for long range missiles which is used in all Agni Missiles. She was the project director for Agni-IV missile project and is now leading the ballistic Agni-V missile project. She is also the technology director for Mission Design and System Analysis Group of Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), which is an entity of DRDO. She happens to be a life member of Astronomical Society of India.

With so many achievements to her name and gamut future prospects, anything written in her applaud would be an understatement. But paradoxically, she is not as famous as one would expect her to be. With extensive efforts towards creating awareness about women empowerment in contemporary India, Tessy Thomas happens to be a great source of inspiration for future generations as a female leader in the field of science and technology.

With the notable rise of women leaders like Shinjini Kumar (CEO, Paytm), Suchi Mukherjee (Founder, Lime Road), Zahabiya Khorakiwala (Managing Director, Wockhardt Hospitals) and Samina Vaziralli (Vice Chairman, Cipla), Tessy Thomas is expected to inspire more women to become future leaders and contribute in the She Leads’ movement.