BEL delivers transmit/receive modules to Thales for Rafale RBE2 Radar
As part of Thales’ Offsets commitments under the Rafale India contract, and in line with the ‘Make in India’ policy, Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has manufactured transmit/receive (T/R) modules for the RBE2 radar on the Dassault Aviation Rafale and delivered them to Thales.
Thales is demonstrating its commitment to the ‘Make in India’ policy through transfers of technology and production, and associated training for BEL engineers in France. BEL has implemented a set of rigorous industrial processes and played an active role in the transfer programme.
Thales is an active stakeholder in the government’s ‘Make in India’ policy, and in the Offsets conditions included in the Rafale India programme. In November 2020, the first RBE2 AESA (active electronic scanning array) radar with a front end manufactured by BEL in India was delivered by Thales to Dassault Aviation. BEL implemented a set of rigorous processes at its Bangalore facility in order to achieve this key milestone.
Specifically developed for Rafale, the RBE2 is the first in-service European AESA radar and has been combat proven on Rafale aircraft operated by the French Air Force. It was developed in close partnership with Dassault Aviation and the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) to meet the requirements of air forces. It uses innovative technologies to combine advanced fire control radar functions and target tracking capabilities. The T/R modules are key to the RBE2 radar’s active electronic scanning performance, enabling it to steer the radar beam with the speed of an electronic chip.
Initiated at the end of 2017, the transfer of technology to BEL has included validation of the company’s technical capacity to deliver prototypes, qualify the various technologies involved in the wiring process, set up a dedicated SMC wiring production line with a preproduction run, train BEL engineers in France and install test benches for microwave characterisation at the BEL facility. The modules produced in India are then integrated with the RBE2 radar in France. BEL and Thales teams are, thus, working closely to transfer advanced technological know-how.
Building on Thales’s 50+ years of expertise with earlier generations of radars for combat aircraft, the RBE2 gives the Rafale a number of key advantages. Compared to radars with conventional antennas, the RBE2 delivers an unprecedented level of tactical situational awareness, faster detection and tracking of multiple targets, and can also implement several radar modes instantaneously.
“We’re delighted to see our collaboration with BEL delivering results, with the radar transmit/receive modules for the Rafale India programme being produced in Bangalore in line with the ‘Make in India; policy,” said Emmanuel De Roquefeuil, VP and Country director, Thales in India. M V Gowtama, Chairman & Managing Director, BEL, too, reiterated the importance of the partnership. He said: “We are happy to be associated with Thales in delivering the transmit/receive modules for the prestigious Rafale programme. The Thales and BEL teams ensured that the ToT happened seamlessly.”