January 18, 2013

BEL In Talks With Dassault Suppliers For MMRCA Electronics Manufacture

In anticipation of the Dassault-India MMRCA contract for the purchase of 126 Rafale fighter jets, India's Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has been interacting with major electronics systems suppliers for the manufacture of important electronics sub-systems of the Rafale aircraft in India.

      In an interview with Defenseworld.net, BEL's Chairman and Managing Director Anil Kumar said that his company was in talks with Dassault Aviation and its Tier 1 suppliers like ECE, Inter Technique & Thales over the execution of the Rafale contract.

      "BEL is interested in Airborne Radar, Electronic Warfare Systems (EW) and Avionics. We know that these are very specific areas for which BEL is perhaps the best qualified company in India. We have been visited by these companies and their major partners," he said.

      Of the 126 fighters, more than three fourths will be license-manufactured in India where BEL's role as the leading defence electronics systems manufacturer in India will come into play. Significantly, it is likely to manufacture the airborne electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, advanced EW systems and avionics under ToT.

      Even before the MMRCA contract is signed between the Indian MoD and Dassault, the French company has set up an Indian subsidiary, Dassault Aircraft Services India Private Limited (DASIPL) as a 100% owned subsidiary and separately partnered with Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) to work on the Rafale deal.

      Thales supplies the all important AESA radar for the Rafale fighter. In 2012, BEL and Thales announced the launch of a joint venture dedicated to the design, development, marketing, supply and support of defence and civilian radars for Indian and Global markets.

      Intertechnique and ECE, part of the Zodiac Aerospace Group, manufactures aircraft oxygen and life support systems, branded EROS and electrical power distribution systems respectively. Intertechnique's lineup includes flight-deck controls, and aircraft fuel circulation and management systems.

      While ECE's activities also include cockpit equipment and cockpit controls and external lighting system and clients for both companies include Airbus, Boeing, and Dassault.

      "We have already started preparing four of our Strategic Business Units (SBUs) to handle this business and are creating the required facilities, training manpower and obtaining AS 9100 certification," Mr. Anil Kumar said.

      The Indian MoD and Dassault opened commercial talks in March 2012 for the purchase of the Rafale fighter and are still engaged in negotiations with no indications of when the contract will be inked.


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