Significant Headway for Bharat Electronics, Signs Contracts Worth Rs 3,102 Crore with MoD  

Defence Industry

Bengaluru: Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has signed two contracts worth Rs 3,102 crore with the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The MoD and BEL-Bangalore concluded a contract for supply of the Advanced Electronic Warfare (EW) suite for fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force. The overall cost of the contract is estimated to be Rs 1,993 crore.

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The MoD also signed a contract with BEL-Hyderabad for the Instrumented Electronic Warfare Range (IEWR) for the Indian Air Force. BEL also signed an MoU with the Army Design Bureau of the Indian Army for collaboration in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Defence applications. All these contracts assume immense significance especially when it comes to making India a self-reliant nation in terms of defence production and research.

As per BEL, the supply of advanced EW systems will significantly enhance the battle-survivability of the IAF fighter aircraft while undertaking operational missions against adversaries’ ground-based as well as airborne fire control and surveillance radars. The EW suite has been indigenously designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

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At the same time, the contract regarding the Instrumented Electronic Warfare Range (IEWR) for the Indian Air Force is being termed as a significant step towards enhancing the capabilities of the IAF to prepare for future warfare. The overall cost of the contract is estimated to be Rs 1,109 crores. The IEWR will be used to test and evaluate airborne Electronic Warfare (EW) equipment and validate their deployment in an operational scenario.

Similarly, the MoU with the Indian Army seeks to bring together the Army Design Bureau (ADB), and BEL under one roof to jointly carry out research activities for the development of innovative AI solutions for the Indian Army. BEL and ADB will co-develop AI-based projects for the Army. The MoU will be executed in a collaborative manner through a nodal organisation named Artificial Intelligence Incubation Hub (AIIH). The AIIH will be co-chaired by the ADG, ADB, and Director, R&D, BEL, with members from the Indian Army and BEL. The MoU also has the provision to co-opt representatives of academia and industry/start-ups.

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Defence experts point out that electronic warfare has been a component of modern conflict and has advanced far beyond jamming radios. They also point out that electronic warfare systems are increasingly capable of sensing, exploiting, and manipulating the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS).