Thales, BEL unveil AESA radar component for Rafale jets

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Thales, BEL unveil AESA radar component for Rafale jets
Bengaluru:  French company Thales and Defence Ministry PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) on Wednesday unveiled a component which will be used on the AESA radar of the Rafale fighter jets of the Indian Air Force.

The Active Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) radar will be installed in the nose of the Rafale jet. It will scan for multiple threats and acquire enemy targets for missiles to fire at.

The BEL has manufactured a particular transmit and receive modules for the RBE2 AESA radar. These were manufactured under offsets commitments under the Rafale India contract.

In November 2020, the first RBE2 AESA radar with a front end manufactured by BEL in India was delivered by Thales to Dassault Aviation. BEL implemented a set of rigorous processes at its Bengaluru facility in order to achieve this key milestone.

“We are happy to be associated with Thales in delivering the Transmit/Receive modules for the prestigious Rafale programme. The Thales and BEL teams ensured that the Transfer of Technology happened seamlessly. We have augmented our facility in Bangalore to meet the requirements of manufacturing this state-of-the-art sub-system. We look forward to working together on many more such challenging assignments with Thales,” said M.V. Gowtama, Chairman and Managing Director, BEL.

Emmanuel De Roquefeuil, Country Director of Thales in India, stated that the collaboration with BEL is delivering results, with the radar transmit/receive modules for the Rafale India programme being produced in Bengaluru in line with the Make in India policy.

“The Thales teams are fully mobilised alongside our partners Dassault Aviation in France and BEL in India,” he said.

Specifically developed for Rafale, the RBE2 is the first in-service European AESA radar and has been combat proven on Rafale aircraft operated by the French Air Force.

It was developed in close partnership with Dassault Aviation and the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) to meet the requirements of air forces, and uses innovative technologies to combine advanced fire control radar functions and target tracking capabilities.

The transmit and receive modules are key to the RBE2 radar’s active electronic scanning performance, enabling it to steer the radar beam with the speed of an electronic chip.

Initiated at the end of 2017, the transfer of technology to BEL has included validation of the company’s technical capacity to deliver prototypes, qualify the various technologies involved in the wiring process, set up a dedicated SMC wiring production line with a preproduction run, train BEL engineers in France and install test benches for microwave characterisation at the BEL facility.

The modules produced in India are then integrated with the RBE2 radar in France. BEL and Thales teams are, thus working closely to transfer advanced technological know-how.

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