In Growth Mode

‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative powers BEL’s growth curve upward

A FORCE Report

Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has continued to grow despite the challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, global chip shortage and stiff competition from the Indian private sector for defence programmes. The state-owned Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) generated a turnover growth of nine per cent over the previous year and has also achieved a market capitalization of Rs 60,000 crore. BEL’s order book stood at approximately Rs 57,000 crore (as on April 1) and it secured orders worth approximately Rs 18,000 crore in FY 2021-22.

Aatmanirbhar Bharat

Anandi Ramalingam, CMD, BEL said the company had various initiatives underway in various important market segments of the defence sector and expected continued growth in orders over the next four to five years. 88 per cent of BEL’s sales come from its defence business and 78 per cent of its sales revenue is obtained from indigenous technology. MSMEs now account for 31 per cent of BEL’s procurement. According to company officials, “BEL is focusing more on core areas and R&D to retain IP and all non-core areas are being outsourced to Indian industries including MSMEs.”


In Mission Mode

At present, BEL is involved in various key defence projects with orders being executed for the Long-Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) programme, Akash Surface to Air Missile (SAM) System, prestigious Integrated Air Command & Control System (IACCS) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Integrated Electronic Warfare (EW) suite for its fighter aircraft. BEL is also executing orders for the navy for supply of Fire Control Systems and an advanced Composite Communication System. Work on the Coastal Surveillance System is considerably advanced and the first phase of Phase 2 of the programme is slated for completion next year.

BEL also announced that it had successfully completed development, testing & completion of a new Multi Target Tracking Radar, developed in-house by BEL. It has also successfully completed development of the BMP Electro Optic Upgrade and Combat Management System. BEL’s Armoured Engineer Reconnaissance Vehicle, which is based on the Russian BMP Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV), was inducted into the Indian Army, earlier this year.

Some of the new projects underway at BEL include a laser fence system, Infra-Red (IR) Jammer for an Active Protection System (APS) for MBTs, gimbals for tethered UAVs, solid state power controller cards for Akash NG / QRSAM, GNSS Receiver, etc. According to company officials, “future thrust areas for BEL are Quantum Cryptography, Photonics-based EW Systems, High-power Lasers, Geospatial Analytics, Image Profiling using LiDARs, Drone Guard systems, Intelligent Process Automation, AI based products, Unmanned Systems, etc.


Indigenous Involvement

BEL received a series of major orders in 2021-2022, benefiting from the government’s ‘Aatmanirbhar’ initiative in defense manufacturing and a growing thrust towards indigenization. HAL placed a major order with BEL for the avionics package for the Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and it has also received orders to supply an advanced Electronics Warfare (EW) suite to the air force, while also inking a contract with Airbus for supply of Radar Warning Receivers (RWR) and Missile Approach Warning Systems (MAWS) as part of offset contracts for the C295 transport aircraft programme. BEL will also supply the Indian armed forces with an Instrumented Electronic Warfare Range (IEWR). BEL has also received orders for CDR TI cum Day Light Sights for army T-90 Main Battle Tanks (MBT) and will also supply it with Weapon Locating Radars (WLR).

BEL’s export sales, however, were impacted due to the pandemic, and was down to USD 33.3 million in 2021-22. It acquired new orders worth USD 179 million however, and its export order book now stands at USD 269 million. BEL has received export contracts for Coastal Surveillance Systems, Trans-Receive (TR) Modules, EO-IR Payload System, Compact Multi-Purpose Advanced Stabilization System (EOS CoMPASS), Data Link, Electro-Mechanical parts, Low Band Receivers (LBREC) and spares for Radars, etc. BEL is now also collaborating with new local partners in Kenya, Chile, Suriname, Malaysia, Nepal and Bangladesh, while its marketing offices in Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Oman. Singapore and New York offices have been expanded with marketing cells.


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