Navratna defence PSU Bharat Electronics is set to commission its waterfront support facility inside the Naval Ship Repair Yard at the Southern Naval Command here by October this year.

The facility, aimed at augmenting support infrastructure in Kochi for offering product services of naval equipment and systems delivered by it, the company would start off on a modest scale with seven to eight people, H.N. Ramakrishna, BEL’s marketing director, told The Hindu during an interaction on the sidelines of a seminar on Friday.

BEL’s product support centre at the Kinfra Park in collaboration with DRDO’s Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory at Thrikkakara was already extending limited support to naval ships, but the company wanted to create a waterfront facility on the lines of the ones in Vizag, Mumbai and Kolkata for providing the whole range of services, he said.

According to Mr. Ramakrishna, BEL had registered a growth of nearly eight percent as a hardware company in its bid to attain a turnover of Rs 10,000 crore.

“As for naval systems, the focus is on constantly upgrading exiting systems by harnessing the latest technologies, as in the case of hull-mounted sonars. In collaboration with Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), we have brought out HUMSA-NG [hull mounted sonar advanced-new generation, which is fitted on frontline warships of the Navy] and are further exploring emerging possibilities in this area. Another domain where we are working with NPOL is towed array sonars. While NPOL’s towed array system [Nagan] is still to be proved, we have tied up with a few global firms like the US-based L3 Ocean Systems, and are the font-end bidder to provide advanced towed array systems to the Navy. The idea is to keep abreast with the latest in towed array technology,” Mr. Ramakrishna said.

Ajit T. Kalghatgi, BEL’s director (research and development) told The Hindu that the company in tandem with DRDO was fashioning two types of software-defined radio compliant to software communications architecture (SCA) standards. “Trial evaluations are on for an airborne version of the radio for naval aircraft besides a ship-borne version,” he said.

Apart from communication systems, the company is focussing on electronic warfare systems, electro-optic systems and optronic pedestals on the maritime domain, he added.

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