BEL-Thales JV begins production of radars

GN Bureau | November 16, 2015




The joint venture formed by Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and Thales, for the manufacture of civil and military radars, has started production for the Indian Air Force.

BEL, the Navratna PSU, holds a 74 per cent stake in the joint venture and the rest is held by the French company. Even as BEL has manufactured radars for the military, Thales’ main strengths are in systems engineering, integration and testing. The joint venture is currently focusing on air traffic management radars for both civilian and defence markets.

Antoine Caput, vice-president and Country Director, Thales, said the joint venture company, BEL-Thales Systems Limited, that was incorporated in August last year, has had an encouraging start to the partnership. “The eventual aim of the joint venture is to become a centre of excellence, offering solutions in line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ approach,” he told BusinessLine in an e-mail interaction.

The joint venture focuses on the design, development, marketing, supply and support of civilian and select defence radars. It is also exploring the possibility of developing passive and multi static passive surveillance radar as futuristic air traffic surveillance and management, and multi target tracking radars for Naval Fire Control application, among other things.

“The initial product portfolio of BEL-Thales Systems Limited will comprise innovative solutions for air surveillance, including Air Traffic Management radars, and select ground based military radars,” said Caput, adding, “The ultimate objective of the joint venture is to expand its scope in fields such as defence electronics domain.” The multinational giant has operations in aerospace, transport, defence and security. Under earlier license deals with the French company, BEL has built Thales LW04, DA08 and ZW06 naval radars.

Sources indicated that Thales will supply six of the 19 Ground Smarter low-level transportable radars that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has ordered from France, with the other 13 will be assembled in BEL’s facility at Ghaziabad.

Incidentally, Thales is also involved with the upgradation of the Indian Air Force’s Mirage 2000 aircraft. The first two upgraded Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft were handed over to the IAF recently.

The upgrade is aimed at further enhancing the technical operational capabilities and service life of the fighters by another 15 years. Thales is also developing missiles and rockets for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) upcoming combat helicopters.

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