Weapon Locating Radar from BEL
In 1948, just a year after Independence, the Government of India entrusted the task of establishing a radar and electronics factory to the Ministry of Defence. It was from this authority that Bharat Electronics Limited ( BEL) was instituted in Bangalore in 1954. BEL is a pioneer in India in the field of radars and has, in collaboration with DRDO labs, been designing and manufacturing land-based, airborne and shipborne radars for defence and civilian applications since 1964.
Some of the important radar projects executed by BEL over the years are 2D Low- Level Surveillance Radar ( INDRA II), 2D Surveillance Radar Element (SRE), Flycatcher Radar, Battle Field Surveillance Radar Short Range (BFSR-SR), Battle Field Surveillance Radar Medium Range (BFSRMR), 3D Surveillance Radar (Rohini), 3-D Tactical Control Radar, Flight Level Radar and Troop Level Radar for Akash Missile System and Doppler Weather Radar Mk–II for ISRO and the MET department. New generation 3D and 4D Radars with AESA technology are in the pipeline.
BEL has added another feather to its cap with the development and successful trials of Weapon Locating Radar (WLR), which is a field artillery radar system capable of locating enemy artillery batteries or shell-firing guns, mortars and rocket launchers with great precision and guiding own artillery fire to neutralise the enemy targets. The radar system is configured on two Tatra vehicles: Radar Vehicle and Power Source- cum- BITE Vehicle. The system has been developed jointly by the Military Radar Strategic Business Unit of BEL’s Bangalore Complex and Electronics & Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), a DRDO laboratory based out of Bangalore.
BEL, along with technical support from LRDE, initiated the indigenous development of WLR in May 2002 and completed realisation of the engineered model in 2010, incorporating new technologies/techniques like flexible waveforms through Digital Pulse Compression, improving the average power of transmitter for higher (5%) duty cycle, software improvements for better clutter handling and incorporation of Power PC-based Programmable Signal Processing Unit (PSPU) and weight reduction. The system has cleared all the five phases of trials, viz., actual firing trials in the forward ranges of Pokhran and high altitudes of Sikkim, EMI/EMC evaluation by MCE, Mhow, maintainability evaluation by MAG and environmental evaluation by DGQA in November 2011. The project also won the prestigious Raksha Mantri’s Award for ‘Import Substitution’ in 2011.
Following recommendations of the Technical Oversight Committee and Contract Negotiation Committee, BEL signed a contract for supplying of 30 WLR systems: 10 systems configured with high altitude kit for TATRA vehicles to the Indian Army on 30 December 2015. The First off Production Model (FoPM) of WLR came out in January 2016, with the proactive involvement of DGQA agencies, MAG and User Directorate. Qualification Tests for improved subsystems and acceptance tests of all sub systems were completed, and firing trials successfully completed in mid-April 2016. The high altitude version of WLR and other versions for the plains have been manufactured and are under different stages of inspection and evaluation, production of the entire quantity of WLRs to be undertaken and supplied as per the terms of the contract.