Interview with Mrs. Anandi Ramalingam, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Electronics Limited

BEL: Expanding its Global Footprints

Please tell us about BEL’s export business. What are the major products and who are the customers?

BEL achieved an export sale of 51.93 Million USD during the Financial Year 2021-22. Some of the countries where BEL’s products were exported were USA, France, Israel, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, China, Republic of Armenia, Maldives, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Bhutan and few specific SEZs. The major products/ systems exported during the year included Coastal Surveillance System, Data Link II, EOS CoMPASS, IFF-I Mk-XI, Radar Finger Printing System, Communication equipment, TR Modules, Vacuum Interrupters, mechanical parts, cable looms, radar spares, sub assembly of Radar & EW Systems, assemblies and subassemblies of Missile Systems, Shelter Spares, Electronic Fuzes, etc.

The Export order book of BEL, as on 1st April 2021, stands at US $125.93 Million including Offset orders of US $46.35 Million. BEL is fast expanding its global presence, putting its best foot forward to give a thrust to exports worldwide. All-out efforts are being made to tap new markets across the globe. In a bid to develop new markets in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and friendly foreign countries (FFCs), BEL has operationalised overseas marketing offices in Oman, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. BEL has also expanded its Singapore and New York Regional Offices to handle marketing activities.

The Government is encouraging defence exports through many policy initiatives and has set a target of Rs.35,000 Crs by 2025. BEL has identified Exports & Offsets as one of its thrust areas and has drawn up plans to offer its select products and systems to various export markets.

Some of the other products and systems which are being promoted for exports include Homeland Security solutions, Smart City solutions, Border Protection Systems and Coastal Surveillance System. Having established a Coastal Surveillance System (CSS) for a few neighbouring countries, BEL is interacting with the Ministry of External Affairs for supply of CSS to other friendly countries.

BEL is also focusing on Offset as a potential avenue for revenue generation. BEL is interacting with many foreign OEMs to meet Offset obligations in various programmes of the MoD. BEL has identified contract manufacturing (build-to-print and build-tospec) for foreign OEMs and partnerships in the form of Transfer of Technology of the latest systems and solutions as areas of emerging export opportunities. Efforts are also on to establish long term supply chain relationship with global players.

BEL- Coastal Surveillance System

BEL has collaborations with various top defence and aerospace firms based abroad. Could you speak on the crucial ongoing programmes?

BEL has active collaborations with top Defence and Aerospace firms. In some specific niche technology areas, BEL does look for collaboration with foreign firms, to meet the requirement of Indian customers. Similarly for various programmes of foreign OEMs, BEL is the preferred supply chain partner.

BEL is at present executing an order from ELOP, Israel, for EOIR Payloads (CoMPASS) and other airborne systems. The Company is involved in the manufacturing and supply of systems/subsystems required for missile systems for IAI, Israel. BEL is also working on the development of software for a C4I solution for Rafael, Israel.

BEL is supplying RF Super Components to Thales through a JV between BEL and Thales (BTSL), for Rafale aircraft. BEL is also working with several OEMs in USA and Russia for various products and systems such as Data Link II, IFFI (Identify Friend or Foe Interrogator), etc. Apart from these, the Company is actively interacting with many other OEMs such as Elisra (Israel), Telephonics (USA), and Saab (Sweden), to explore aerospace related business opportunities.

How is your order book position? Tell us about the key orders executed during FY 2020-21 and major orders for this financial year from Defence and Non-Defence space.

BEL’s overall order book stands at about Rs.55,000 Crores. The major projects executed in FY 2020-21 were LRSAM, IACCS, Akash Missile System, CDR TI for BMP & T72, Land-based EW System Upgrade, AFNET, SHAKTI PH III, Ventilators, Homeland Security, Smart City projects, HUMSA, Coastal Surveillance System, K-FON, ACCS P17A, SDR (NC), EOIR, CCTV, Avionics for Light Combat Aircraft, Electronic Fuzes, NAISS and Low Level Transportable Radar. BEL’s initiatives to diversify into various nondefence sectors have started showing results, as a good chunk of revenue achieved in the previous year accrued from Homeland Security & Smart Cities, Solar, Batteries, X-BIS, Jammers, Ventilator, etc, which have contributed both to the top line and bottom line growth of the Company. Based on an order from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, BEL successfully completed manufacturing and supply of 30,000 numbers of CV 200 ICU Ventilators in a record time to help the Government of India in its efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

BEL has acquired orders worth about Rs. 15,200 Crores in FY 2020-21. Major Orders received include AFNET Performance & Security Enhancement and SATCOM Network, Ventilators (including service), Naval Fire Control System, Software Defined Radio, Advance Torpedo Defence Systems, Digital Mobile Radio Relay, etc.

Some of the major projects planned for execution during 2021- 22 are Long Range Surface to Air Missile System (LRSAM), Integrated Air Command & Control System (IACCS), Coastal Surveillance System (CSS)-Phase II, Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON), Weapon Locating Radar (WLR), Integrated Perimeter Security System (IPSS), Samyukta EW Upgrade System, SAGAR III Systems, ACCS, HUMSA UG Systems, Lynx U1 Mod, Shakti Phase-III, Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), etc.

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