BEL to double R&D spend

BEL to double R&D spend

The one-time major employer in the City along with ITI, HAL and BHEL, the public sector electronics giant survived the decline of PSUs by supplying critical electronic equipment to the military, and is now set to go to the next level by upping its R&D ante.

Waking up to Defence Minister A K Antony’s caution to defence PSUs to prepare to compete with the private sector, BEL has prepared a ‘comprehensive research and development blueprint.’Addressing the Forum of Defence and Aerospace Journalists, Bangalore here, BEL R&D Director I V Sarma said: “Our R&D spend was increased to six per cent of the turnover to Rs 350 crore last year compared to four per cent previously and for the coming financial year we are looking at another two per cent increase, if not taking it to 10 per cent.”

Earlier, BEL engaged solely in specification-based research and often  lagged behind in its capabilities. Now, there is a shift in the attitude and the R&D plans are tied to future needs.
Sarma said the firm has hired 350 engineers for the R&D team in the last two years, taking the total to 1,700 and is planning to hire another 450 in the next 18 months. Sarma also revealed that BEL will do the systems integration for the long-range surface-to-air missile programme through a tie-up with Israel. The first missile of the programme was tested recently in Israel.

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