In 1948, one year after gaining 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. The Company 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 (BFSR-MR), 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 Meteorological department. The new generation 3D and 4D Radars with AESA technology are in the pipeline.
Weapon Locating Radar
BEL has added another feather to its cap with the development and successful trials of Weapon Locating Radar (WLR). WLR 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.
Joint Development and Successful Trials
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 sailed through 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 – and came out with flying colours in November 2011. The project also won the prestigious Raksha Mantri’s Award for ‘Import Substitution’ in 2011.
Following the 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
December 30, 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. The firing trials have been successfully completed in mid-April 2016
Production of WLRs
The high altitude version of WLR and other versions for the plains have been manufactured and are under different stages of inspection and evaluation. The production of the entire quantity of WLRs would be undertaken and supplied as per the terms of the contract. BEL’s WLR stands its ground on the strength of its field-proven performance as well as effective customer support, when compared to its main competitors. The rival Radars lack a few critical functionalities of WLR, like automatic height correction using digital map, automatic data transmission through Surveillance Communication Terminal (SUCOMT), etc. Limited elevation coverage by frequency phase scan is an operational restriction with some Radars. Some of the other USPs of BEL’s WLR are automatic range selection of 4 Km to 40 Kms with instrumented range of 50 Km; weapon location storage capacity of more than 399 compared to smaller capacity of competition, weapon location detection rate of 9 detections per min; ALNS which provides North for orientation and own location coordinates with desired accuracy; user-friendly HMI which has been developed incorporating all the user feedbacks, and most importantly, tailor made for the Indian Army keeping in mind Indian terrain conditions with respect to less crowded CBand; 50 Hz Power operation; 100% redundancy in power source, integrated with Indian Army grid and ergonomics as required by Army. BEL’s Radar is expected to cost lesser than other radars in the global market and will help save foreign exchange for India.
8 MAHAR (PVC) AWARDED EASTERN COMMAND, GOC – IN – C UNIT CITATION (2014-16)
On the occasion of Army Day this year, 8 MAHAR has been awarded the Unit Citation by GOC-in-C Eastern Command for their exemplary work along the borders in Sikkim. The unit already one of the most decorated units in the annals of military history with PVC, MVC, VrC, SC and a host of other awards, added yet another feather to its cap under the leadership of Col Mouli Sankar Roy this year. The battalion braved extreme hostile terrain and climatic conditions and maintained the sanctity of our borders in the icy heights of 15000ft plus
commendably. The sector where the battalion was deployed was also the most sensitive sector considering the ongoing Chinese activities. The troops of 8 MAHAR displayed utmost professionalism, grit and valour to ensure dominance in all fields without any untoward or escalatory situation. The unit personnel have also been awarded commendations at different points during their tenure by the GOC-in-C Eastern Command and by the Chief of the Army Staff.