BEL, in collaboration with Indian industry and selected foreign defence OEMs, is participating in High Technology, Complex ‘Make’ programs of the Indian Army like Tactical Communication System and Battlefield Management System. These programs are currently in the design phase, which will be developed in the next 3 to 4 years. These programs will enter into the production phase in 4 to 5 years.
Currently BEL is offering Akash Missile System for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army in collaboration with DRDO and Private sector participation. In the future, the product line will continue and BEL is exploring to develop several variants of the Akash Missile System and is also evaluating potential export opportunities. Programs in other major segments like Radars, Communications, Network Centric Systems, Tank Electronics, Gun Upgrades, Electro-Optic Systems, Electronic Warfare and Avionics Systems will continue to drive BEL’s growth in the coming years.
The company is working in many strategic areas such as Next Generation Electronic Warfare Suites, Air Defence Systems, Tactical Communication Systems, Battlefield Management Systems, Passive Night Vision Devices and Multi-sensor Stabilisation Systems. The major new initiatives undertaken are Long Term Evolution (LTE)-based Military Networking solutions, Electronics Systems for Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), Missile Containers, Training Simulators and Smart City Elements, which are expected to generate business in the coming years.
BEL is also focusing on opportunities in the areas of Offset obligations of vendors in various RFPs of the Ministry of Defence. The focus is on ‘Build to Print’ and ‘Build to Spec’ products. BEL has signed MoUs with many foreign companies and is working with major Aerospace and Defence companies to establish long-term supply chain relationships. BEL is also pursuing possibilities to export products and systems to friendly countries with the approval of MoD. Currently, the Coastal Surveillance System, Under Water Electronic systems and Electronic Voting Machines are being promoted to South East Asian, Middle East and African countries.
Strategies to maintain BEL’s leadership position in the Defence sector
India has evolved as the most lucrative aerospace and defence market globally with mega acquisition programs coupled with the government’s proactive stance towards modernisation of the Indian defence forces. The defence budget, as projected by FICCI, in the next 10 years is to the tune of USD 620 billion with 50% for capital acquisitions for the Indian defence forces. The Indian Defence Aviation industry is one of the fastest growing markets in the world propelled by this increasing defence spend. As per the FICCI report, the annual opportunity for Indian companies (PSU & Private) is expected to reach $41 billion in size by FY22 and $168 billion of cumulative opportunity between FY14-22 driven by domestic and external demand.
In the changing business environment, BEL has taken several steps towards enhancement of in-house R&D such as creation of short / medium / long-term Technology Plans, close co-operation with DRDO Labs, other national research laboratories and R&D organizations including academia, R&D Committees to chart out technology roadmaps and action plans and Collaborative R&D with niche technology companies.
BEL, in association with DRDO labs, is developing the next generation modern Radars (AESA-based), Surface to Air Missile Systems, Electronic Warfare suites for fighter aircraft and helicopters, Integrated EW systems for various terrains for the Indian Army, Software Defined Radios for the Armed forces, Thermal Imaging sights for Tanks and Weapons, etc.
BEL is currently playing the role of a System Integrator and will continue to involve and play a collaborative role in developing the large private sector players and MSMEs in the growth path. BEL expects to further move up the value chain and become a full-fledged Lead System Integrator across technology domains and design value chain.