BEL AWAITS OFFSETS WINDFALL
With a modest $42 million in exports in 2013-14, Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) is anticipating big export orders on account of offsets arising from forthcoming defence contracts with foreign OEMs. BEL has established MoUs with several companies, including Elbit Systems, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Saab, Thales, IAI for possible offset business arising out of various RFPs issued by the MoD. Having established a coastal surveillance radar system for two countries, BEL is interacting with the Ministry of External Affairs on a regular basis for supply of similar systems to other friendly nations. On the frontline of hightechnology manufacture for defence applications, BEL has woken up to stiff competition from highly capable private sector firms that stand to gain similarly from the windfall of inbound orders and technology on the offsets wave. BEL is also working to expand its export catalogue. Under the new ‘Make in India’ philosophy rolled out by the government, the DPSU has decided to ramp up internal R&D efforts and fund advanced systems internally in a bigger way than ever before, instead of depending solely on the DRDO and allied agencies. The resulting systems could include radars and sensors, man portable sensors and communications devices, encrypted communications equipment for indigenous and foreign aircraft and new generation warning systems.