Dr. M. Natarajan has a B.Tech. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT, Chennai and M.Tech. Degree in Mechanical Engineering with specialization in Engineering Design from IIT Mumbai.
He joined the Defence Research & Development Organization in 1970. He additionally holds a Master of Science Degree in Military Vehicle Technology obtained from the RMCS, UK in 1975. Shri M. Natarajan has worked for over 30 years on several important project assignments relating to the design and development of tracked vehicles. He has been associated with MBT-Arjun programme since its inception. He took over the overall responsibility of development of MBT Arjun in the capacity of Programme Director in 1987. He assumed charge as Director of the CVRDE on 01 Dec 1989. The continued hard work and innovative design approach and dedication of the highest order exhibited by Shri Natarajan and his team for over two decades resulted in India having an indigenous state-of-the-art Main Battle Tank Arjun and self propelled gun system BHIM. Shri Natarajan received the Best Scientist Award for the year 1994 from the Hon'ble Minister of State of Defence, Shri Mallikaarjun, for his personal contributions to the success of MBT Arjun.
His laboratory was selected as the Best Systems Engineering laboratory for the year 1995, for which he received the Rolling silicon Award in 1996 for outstanding professional excellence by the Institution of Engineers (India). He was made Distinguished Scientist in DRDO w.e.f. 12 Mar 1999. He has served in the capacity of CCR&D (ACE) at DRDO HQ looking after Arnaments, Combat Vehicles and Engineering equipment w.e.f. July 2000. During this period, he ensured acceptance of Pinaka MBRLS, developed by ARDE, by Army through exhaustive field tests. He became a Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engg. with effect from Dec 2001.
He received the award of Padam Shri from the Honourable President of India in 2003 for his contribution to the design and development of Combat Vehicles. He was awarded Technology Leadership Award for 2003 by DRDO for his contributions to the design and development of Combat vehicles and Mechanical Systems for LCA. He has been awarded Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Madras in Dec 2003. Shri M. Natarajan has taken over as Scientific Adviser to Raksha Mantri 31st August 2004 (AN).