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INTERVIEW
“We Are Looking For a Much Larger Role in The MMRCA Contract As The Offset Values Are Very High”
Ashwani Kumar Datt, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL)
In the year 2010-2011, BEL had targeted 50lakh per employee in turnover & revenue of Rs 5500 crore with 20 — 25 per cent PBT and 16 per cent PAT. Have these targets been met and what are the expectations for 2011-2012?
We will definitely cross Rs 5700 crore in revenue this year, there is no doubt. We have approximately 40 per cent of our turnover coming from the last quarter. We have also stressed on completing our order book in time. Once you have a good order book and you plan your production well, then we not only start well but also finish well. We have 11500 employees and Rs 5700 crore in revenue which means that we are at Rs 50 lakh per employee. Profitability wise, I expect that we will be at 20 per cent PBT. Our radar business, communication and electronic warfare, electro-optics, naval systems and C4I systems have been All the 9 (nine) factories and the 16 business units are meeting their targets except for one or two of them. our growth areas. All these businesses have met their planned targets for this year. It is expected that all nine units that have separate balance sheets will be profitable with varying profitability.
Will BEL be entering into any new joint ventures during Aero India 2011?
We do not plan to formalise any Joint Ventures at AERO INDIA (Aero India). We are planning on signing a few MoU’s mainly in the defence sector. We will announce these at the Air Show. What will be BEL’s role in the upgrade for SU-30 MKI, Mig-29 &

Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft? Once the MMRCA contract comes through what are the items that BEL would like to produce for MMRCA?
BEL will supply Radar Warning Receiver for Su-30 MKI. For MiG 29, BEL, jointly with DARE, is developing a state-of-the-art self-protection EW suite. For Mirage 2000, BEL is offset partner for EW and Radar for the prime bidder, Thales. For the MMRCA contract, for a very long time we have been interacting with all the players who are participating for the bid (for a long time). BEL is interested in airborne radar, EW Systems and avionics. We know that they (there) are some very specific areas where BEL is the only or the best company in India to that (player). We have been visited (Lot of companies have visited us and) we have visited (many) companies ourselves (too), checked the requirements, (and) spoken to Tier-1 & Tier 2 suppliers. We are now waiting for finalisation of the contract and only then, can specific contracts be signed. In this instance, we are looking at the offset values which are very substantial. We are looking for a much larger role in the MMRCA contract as the offset values are very high. This will come by BEL doing work in areas of known competence or targeting new areas. We have already started preparing three to four SBU’s primarily to handle this sort of business and we have gone ahead creating facilities, obtaining certifications etc.

BEL will be the lead integrator for the IAF version of AKASH. What is the progress and lessons learnt during the same?
We are now in a position to complete and deliver the first firing squadron by June 2011 and the second by December 2011 which is actually the order delivery date agreed upon. I am carefully watching the delivery of the first squadron.
Since this is the first time that this type of project is being undertaken here, the expectation is that there will be delays. I had immense difficulty in convincing people that we will deliver on time. Now we have kept our word and will deliver on time. We knew that this was a difficult task so we involved eight factories right from the beginning with the nodal agency being the Military radar SBU at Bangalore. We put in place a very strong project management right from the start and analysed and kept on upgrading periodically the things that could go wrong. We did have a problem where a private sector company was not able to sort out technical issues with a DRDO developed communication system; we took over and developed the product in four months. TATA was having problems with the launcher as the swivel rings were not getting cleared from Germany because of export clearance and BEL could prevail upon to get these released.

We have got an order for six squadrons for the Akash missile system. The government in its wisdom has awarded BDL the contract for the army version of the Akash but even from that we will get around Rs 3000 crore of work. The contract for the army version of the Akash will see BDL grow as they have remained a small company for quite some time now. With more contracts in the future for the LR, MR and SR SAM’s the government thought it prudent to build up capabilities in this area. BEL will support them in this endeavour and we have already agreed to train their manpower in this regard. We are already the lead integrator for the LR SAM.

Please provide an update on BEL achievements in the year 2010?
With regards to our Ghaziabad factory, what has been most important is the successful induction of the Rohini radar developed along with Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE). The Indian Air Force (IAF) is very happy with the Rohini radar and the production has been ramped up and the facility has also been enhanced in terms of production and quality assurance. Another significant achievement is the successful development of the 3D Tactical Control Radar (3D CAR). The Ghaziabad Research and Development (R&D) team, independent of LRDE, adapted technologies to make this radar. The radar was accepted very well in the first trials itself. and accepted very well. We are now on the verge of getting an order for the same. The Kotdawara factory has got a good order — Instant Fire Detection and Suppression System (IFDSS). It has been accepted as the standard product for most of the BMP 2 and BMP 2K. We have also got follow on orders for bridging equipment there. The Panchkula factory has been very successful in the development of a better Head up Display (HUD) which will be going as a product to the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) labs and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). We have successfully overcome the comparisons to a foreign radio for our Combat Net Radio (CNR). We have met all the required specifications and are now supplying the same. In Hyderabad they are handling the latest development in Electronic Warfare (EW) and also newer versions of the SANKET. We have recently set up a new (R&D) Laboratory at our Hyderabad facility and this will now provide a comprehensive R&D capability for EW. At Machilipatnam, we are now on the verge of getting an order for Passive Night Vision Devices (PNVD) for which trials are over. We will deliver 34,000 PNVDS for this order. These will be Gen 2 plus????? and superior to the lower end of third generation devices currently available. Our subsidiary BELOP will also be upgraded to handle the next generation of image intensifier tubes. At our Navi Mumbai facility, aluminium skin shelters are being produced and exported to Israel. They are in the process of getting a few more export orders. They have also succeeded in getting the order to manufacture Masts for the Battlefield Surveillance Radar (BFSR).

Pune has grown in the areas of recce vehicles. They are also getting into the manufacture of fuses for ordinance factories and have tied up with a foreign company to bid for an order.

Chennai has continued to support tank electronics for Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun and they are now waiting for next orders which have been more or less cleared. They also were working on upgrade of L-70 and Zsu series guns.

Our Military radar SBU has been working on the IAF Akash SAM project and Shilka upgrade. They have successfully completed the trials of the Weapon Locating Radar. Milcom will complete delivery of Shakti phase 2 shortly. In case of EW, we have work for LCA ‘Tejas’ & Radar Warning Receivers (RWR). For Naval systems, we have completed the work for the first fleet tanker for FINCANTIERI and we are also growing very strongly (upgrading) to add value to naval programmes. We will cross 1000 crore this year in business for naval systems at the 2 (two) SBU put together.

 What are the orders received for the Weapon Locating Radar (WLR), 3D Tactical Control Radar & Battlefield Surveillance System (BSS)?
(For) 3D TCAR, we will get an order for 25 to 30 numbers by March 2011. WLR, we have (successfully) completed trials very well and we (are) expect(ing) orders by the second quarter of 2011. The WLR is now performing very well, however, it has taken time and it is a fact that I wish we had gotten (got) this order 2 (two) years earlier. Trials were concluded in mid-January 2011. BSS is in an advanced stage of order placement (and) we (are) expect(ing) an order shortly.

 
 
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