DRDO acquired approximately 2100 acre of land in 1970's for the purpose of Anti Tank Missile Testing. Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam the then Director of DRDL persuaded Govt of Andhra Pradesh to give the land for setting up RCI. The area occupied by RCI has been named as Vignyana Kancha. On 5th Aug 1985, former Prime Minister Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi laid the foundation stone for this establishment. Former President of India Shri R. Venkatraman inaugurated the laboratory on 27th Aug 1988. RCI, a premier R&D organization in the country with an objective of developing frontier technologies for Defence applications.
RCI has considered as 'Avionics Hub' of DRDO. It is one of the three DRDO Labs of 'Missile Complex'. It houses different work centers, integration and testing facilities.RCI is a leading laboratory of Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO) and responsible for development of missile system and also design, development and participation in production of missile avionics like Inertial Navigation Systems, Control Systems, Real Time Embedded Computers, Imaging Infrared Seeker, Radio Frequency Seeker and Power Supply Systems. Telemetry and Telecommand systems are also developed in RCI to evaluate missile performance during its development phase. RCI is an ISO 9001-2000 laboratory. RCI focus is to design and develop world class, State-of-the-art missile technologies which will produce precise and reliable indigenous weapon systems to strengthen country’s Armed Forces.
The Infrastructure facilities established include state-of-the–art Electro Magnetic interference / Electromagnetic Compatibility, Environmental test facility for climatic and dynamic testing of Missile Avionic Systems and Compact Antenna test facility. The first indigenous Trishul missile was successfully flight tested with indigenous Control and Navigation Systems. Subsequently Prithvi and other missiles were successfully flight tested with indigenous avionic systems after thorough testing in simulation laboratory and extensive Environmental testing. Subsequently several core technology areas were identified and added to RCI