Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL)’s new Defense Systems Integration Complex will focus on research and development in radars, missiles and electronic warfare systems.
The new facility’s foundation stone was laid by Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar on September 30, 2015 and will be the largest facility once it is commissioned. The facility will be built in stages as the various projects mature and the estimated investment will be about Rs.500 crores ($76 million) over 3 to 4 years.
S K Sharma, Chairman & Managing Director, BEL, said: “We are strengthening our infrastructure in areas like Night Vision technologies and elements of Multifunction Radars. Various new Surface to Air Missile (SAM) programs are proposed to be taken up by BEL, viz, Quick Reaction SAM , Long Range SAM, Medium Range SAM, etc, in addition to Network Centric Communication and Electronic Warfare systems.’’
“To achieve self-reliance in defense, there is need for a very strong indigenous R&D. In this direction, BEL has not only maintained a consistent policy of R&D investments but also has launched collaborative R&D with private SME firms in the country. On an average, 80 per cent of BEL’s Sales turnover is from indigenous R&D every year. BEL has now launched a Product Development & Innovation Centre at Bangalore to give further thrust towards indigenous R&D,” he said.
As part of diversification and business growth, BEL is looking towards major expansion into New Generation SAM systems, High end Image Intensifier Tubes and Thermal Imaging detectors for Night Vision Devices, Inertial Navigation Systems, Electronic Ammunition Fuses, Air Traffic Management Radars, Intelligent Traffic Management Systems and Solar Power Plants.
The Palasamudram (Andhra Pradesh) facility will enable BEL to expand its Missile systems business and will carry out manufacturing & integration for the ongoing and upcoming projects. It will have state-of-the-art infrastructure such as Assembly Hangars and Hard Stands for Radars and Weapon integration, RF radiation sources for target simulation, Automatic Test Equipment, Clean Rooms for electronic assembly, Non-Explosive & Explosive Integration Buildings, Missile Storage buildings, Environmental Test Chambers, Fire Stations, Solar Power Plant, Estate and Admin buildings.
BEL is currently manufacturing the Akash Missile Systems (AMS) for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army. The Akash Missile System is a supersonic, short-range surface-to-air missile system designed and developed by DRDO, with the capability to engage a wide variety of aerial threats like aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. BEL is the lead integrator of the Akash Missile System for the Indian Air Force and supplies the Radars, Control Centres, Simulators, associated maintenance vehicles and the integrated software.
Testing and integration of missile systems involves actual deployment of Air Surveillance Radars, Fire Control Radars, Control Centers, Missile Launchers and other support systems to validate the detection, tracking, command and communication link parameters. Multiple groups of the equipment have to be positioned at suitable spacing over a large area to simulate field conditions. The upcoming facility will cater to these requirements.
At present, BEL carries out its missile manufacturing and integration activities and system level checks at its Bangalore Unit. In order to cater to the large requirements of futuristic Surface to Air Missile systems, missiles and associated electronic sub-systems & components, BEL is setting up this facility in Andhra Pradesh.
The proposed Complex will be a facility with Automated Guided Vehicles and Industrial Robots for material movement and handling.
BEL also plans to expand this facility for the creation of a Military Industrial Complex to set up the necessary ecosystem for manufacture of electronic components and equipment for various upcoming Defence projects in collaboration with SMEs as part of the Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.