The origin of Instruments Research and Development Establishment (IRDE) dates back to the establishment of Inspectorate of Scientific Stores in 1939 at Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan) with the responsibility to inspect the tele-communication equipment used by the Army in India. This AHSP underwent many organisational and locational changes until it took the shape of Technical Development Establishment (Instruments & Electronics) covering both R&D and AHSP functions in the fields of instruments and electronics and was located at Dehra Dun. The Establishment, during subsequent years, shed some of its R&D and AHSP responsibilities and came into existence, in its present form as IRDE on 18 February 1960.
IRDE has developed in the past many optical instruments like binoculars, goggles, fire control instruments for small arms, mortars & field guns and fire control system for up-gunned T-55, Vijayanta & MBT Arjun tank. IRDE has also developed Laser based instruments like Range Finders, designators, seekers and proximity sensors for various defence applications. IRDE is known for the development of image intensifier and thermal imager based night vision devices.