State-run Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) will invest Rs.620 crore/$100 million over the next five years in developing electronic warfare products jointly with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), a top official said Tuesday.
"We will invest $100 million from ensuing fiscal year (2014-15) over the next five years for funding joint programmes with DRDO to develop electronic warfare products required for our armed forces," BEL chairman and managing director S. K. Sharma said at a conference here.
As the country's leading electronics major, BEL manufactures and supplies a range of products, including radars, electronic warfare system, sound and vision broadcasting, missiles and sonars to the Indian army, navy and air force.
With nine manufacturing facilities across the country, the company had jointly developed a mobile integrated electronic warfare system 'Samyukta' with DRDO, Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) and the army's signal corps for tactical battlefield use.
Covering a wide range of frequencies, the system is used for surveillance, analysis, interception, direction finding and position fixing, listing, prioritizing and jamming of all communication and radar signals.
"In view of our capability to manufacture electronic warfare systems, we have decided to associate with DRDO in developing advanced and next generation electronic warfare products from inception to avoid delays in production," Sharma said at the third International Conference on Electronic Warfare (EWCI 2014).
As a force multiplier system, an electronic system needs high level of secrecy to maintain an element of surprise against an adversary. It ensures tactical and strategic advantage for armed forces during an operation.
"We sold electronic warfare systems to the armed forces to the value of Rs.2,000 crore over the years. The market potential is about Rs.10,000 crore in view of the growing requirement for such warfare by the armed forces in the coming years," Sharma added.
Earlier, delivering a keynote address, Air Marshal M. Matheswaran of the Integrated Defence Staff told about 600 delegates from across the country and overseas that information operation and information warfare were inseparable.
"Armed forces tend to put electronic warfare on backburner and information operation in the forefront. Gathering information, building upon that information against adversary by deception or jamming gives tactical advantage," he said.
Stressing on the need to educate and train more engineers on operating electronic warfare systems, he said the academia and industry should take advantage of the policy change to involve the private sector in developing the technology and products to gather information and use it for national security.
Deccan herald /IANS