The Indian Ministry of Defense has approved the formation of a Joint Venture Company with Thales for the design, development, marketing, supply and support of civilian and select defence radars for Indian and global markets.
Thales will hold 26 per cent stake in the company, as per the Defence foreign direct investment (FDI) norms that India prescribes at present. BEL, as expected, will hold the rest 74 per cent stake, which is touted to be around $10 million.
Earlier last year, speculation was rife that the JV with Thales was stalled due to a delay in the MMRCA deal between the Indian MOD and Dassault.
The state-owned company has been in talks with Dassault Aviation and its Tier 1 suppliers like ECE, Inter Technique & Thales over the execution of the Rafale contract. Of the 126 fighters, more than three fourths will be license-manufactured in India where BEL’s role as the leading defence electronics systems manufacturer in India will come into play.
BEL has established a new manufacturing facility for Microwave Supercomponents and TR Modules at Bangalore Unit to cater to the requirement of new generation Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radars and new Electronic Warfare systems, Mr S K Sharma, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) said in an interview with Defenseworld.net.
“BEL is taking steps to meet the varying challenges to keep abreast with the latest technological developments and the management of emerging large turnkey programmes,” he said.
“The measures include strengthening the technology development process through short, medium and long-term technology roadmaps, increased investments in R&D and setting up of a Company-wide Knowledge Management System to harness the complete potential of the R&D engineers.”
BEL is enhancing efforts for in-house developments and also further strengthening the close co-operation with DRDO Labs, other national research laboratories and R&D organizations including academia for indigenous development.