State-run Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) will develop an advanced aerostat and communication system to meet the surveillance and reconnaissance needs of the Indian armed forces, an official said Wednesday.
Floated as a set of balloons in the shape of an inflated aircraft, the helium-filled aerostats are used for providing radar platform to ground forces. When tethered into a strategic position at a pre-determined height above ground, they double as communication relay systems for the forces.
The Bangalore-based defence behemoth has recently entered into a technology partnership with the US-based electronics major TCOM for jointly designing and developing the aerostat systems.
"The partnership with TCOM will augment the surveillance capabilities of our defence services, security services and law-enforcement agencies with costs-effective aerostat surveillance and communication systems," BEL director S.K. Sharma said in a statement here.
As a world leader in lighter-than-air technologies, TCOM designs and manufactures a range of aerostat systems for multiple applications, with laminate fabric material for long endurance and surveillance operations.
The agreement makes BEL the prime bidder to address the aerostat-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements of the Indian armed services and security agencies.
"The partnership reinforces our commitment to the Indian defence industry and allows us to provide cost-effective ISR solutions to the Indian military," TCOM chairman and managing director John Saverino said in the statement.