The city will soon have a research centre that will focus exclusively on cutting-edge electronic warfare technology, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) Ashwani Kumar Datt has said.

The Centre for Electronic Warfare will conduct research into futuristic technology in the areas of electronic warfare and electro-optics, Mr. Datt told presspersons after the inauguration of the first international conference on electronic warfare, EWCI 2010, here on Wednesday.

He added that the centre would initially employ 20 scientists.

BEL, a public sector company under the Ministry of Defence, already has two Central Research Laboratories — one in Bangalore and the other in Ghaziabad — but these centres conduct research on existing areas of radar and communication technology. Close to 800 people in BEL work on electronic warfare projects, he said.

“Nuclear power instrumentation is a new segment that BEL is looking to enter,” said Mr. Datt.

The electronics company has a “small order” from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. for instruments for their nuclear power stations, he said, adding that BEL was also in discussions with all foreign companies involved in nuclear power projects in India.

In his keynote address, Vice-Admiral R.K. Dhowan, Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff, said that one of the biggest challenges for the defence sector was ensuring that systems were kept updated. In order to close the gap between the generation of a concept and the induction of state-of-the-art technology, Mr. Dhowan recommended an approach of joint planning where research and development agencies as well as users projected their needs 15 years ahead. He said electronic warfare faced new “communication challenges” in the form of civilian cellular communication systems and multichannel systems.

First such conference

The three-day conference is the first of its kind and is organised by the Defence Research and Development Organisation in association with BEL. Over 10 countries are participating.