BEL gets biggest ever export order as part of IAF’s Airbus C-295 order

Government of India-controlled Bharat Electronics Ltd, a manufacturer of defence electronics, said it received its largest ever export order in the form of a Make in India offset-contract from European aircraft manufacturer Airbus Defence & Space.

In September this year, Indian Air Force had signed a Rs 20,000 cr contract with Airbus Defence and Space to purchase 56 C-295 transport aircraft to replace its Avro-748 transport planes.

According to the deal, Airbus Defence would produce 16 aircraft in Seville, Spain and the remaining 40 will be produced in India by Tata Advanced Systems (TASL).

The Bangalore-based company said that the deal is part of Airbus’ obligation to have offset manufacturing in India under India’s local sourcing requirements for defence equipment.

“As part of its Offset commitments under the prestigious C295 aircraft programme of the Government of India, and in line with the ,Make in India’ policy, Airbus Defence and Space has signed a contract with Navratna Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for the manufacture and supply of Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) and Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS). This is the biggest export order received till date by BEL,” it said in a brief statement. 

This is likely the first contract received by BEL under the C-295 procurement program.

Airbus, on its part, said the contract will help the development of the defence manufacturing in India in both public and private sectors.

Private sector defence manufacturing in India is practically non-existent, as successive governments have preferred to purchase ready-made weapons and jets from foreign companies and countries.

This led to a total neglect of local manufacturing, except for some companies such as BEL in the government sector.

However, India decided, a few years ago, to change its policy on defence procurement and encourage private companies in the country to get in on the action.

Reliance Anil Ambani Group, Tata, Mahindra & Mahindra and L&T are some of the groups that have taken advantage of this opportunity and struck technology and manufacturing partnerships with foreign defence companies to carry out some of their offset manufacturing requirements in India.