Bangalore-based Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE), a laboratory of the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) has developed a state-of-the-art electronic warfare (EW) suite that can be installed on the Indian Air Forces's MiG-29 Baaz fighter aircraft. In a innovative move it has asked state-owned electronics manufacturing firm, Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and the Indian Air Force to advance a substantial portion of the money required for developing the equipment.
It estimates its need at around Rs170 crore. The MiG-29s are currently being upgraded in Russia.
The move by DARE is in keeping with the new line of thinking of its parent body, the DRDO, to not only bring industry and user into the ambit of its development programme but also to ensure that they financially commit themselves to a project.
At its end, DRDO will ensure that the industrial partner will secure the production order for the equipment.
According to DARE director, RP Ramalingam, his laboratory is in a position to offer a state-of-the-art EW suite for the MiG-29, including a radar warning receiver and a self protection jammer, provided the funding was arranged for. In this regard he mentioned that BEL was prepared to put up a portion of the project's cost with the provision that the production order for the EW suite be awarded to them.
With each suite expected to cost around Rs15 crore, the production order for BEL is potentially worth a whopping Rs1,000 crore.
Not only would industrial funding ensure enhanced commitment for a project, Ramalingam said, but if they so desired industry could even take an active part in the project's research and development phase.
The air force has offered to part fund the project as well.