Monday, August 13, 2007

It's Official: ELTA to bail out HAL's Multimode Radar for LCA

This has of course been known for a while now, but now it's official. Israeli firm ELTA, the radar and electronics subsidiary of IAI, will co-develop a multimode radar for the Light Combat Aircraft programme's limited series and series production aircraft. Here's what I wrote in The Indian Express on November 15, 2006:

"The HAL-DRDO multi-mode radar, the very brain that will guide the LCA's weapons, is not ready. After spending Rs 166.8 crore since 1997, HAL has decided to bring in a foreign technical partner to bail it out."

The Defence Minister's quote in Parliament today says the total expenditure incurred on the project so far is Rs 105 crore till 2004, though the MoD's testimony to the House Panel on Defence says it is Rs 166.8 crore total upto July 2006. Anyway, here's what the Defence Minister said in Lok Sabha today:

"There has been a delay in developing Multi-Mode Radar. The project for development of Multi Mode Radar (MMR) was started in June 1991 with Probable Date of Completion of 6½ years. The technology of airborne radars is very complex. The MMR development is being done for the first time in the country. No prior expertise exists in the country in this field with any organization. There has been a time and cost overrun in the said project. The project to develop two MMR systems for ground testing was sanctioned at a cost of Rs.62.27 crore. This activity was completed in 2004 at a cost of Rs.105 crore. A co-development activity of MMR has been initiated for Limited Series Production and Series Production with M/s ELTA Systems Ltd, Israel, which has experience in developing similar types of radars. To expedite the project, close monitoring of activity at the highest level of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) management has been put in place."

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