India Stuns Power-House Russia To Secure A Defence Deal With Armenia

Fresh reports from Armenia hints at a massive boost to India’s defence sector as it outshined defence power-house Russia and Poland in the race to win a $40 million defence deal. The deal also gives a major push to India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative in the defence sector.

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The deal to supply four units of indigenously-built weapon locating radar has already begun after a trial conducted by the Armenians. Sources reveal that during the testing, both Russian and Polish systems also participated only to see India get the final nod.

SWATHI, the indigenously-built radar that is on its way to Armenia, is developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (ERDE) and is built by the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

A mobile artillery-locating radar, the Swathi Weapon Locating Radar (WLR) is designed to detect and track the incoming weapon attacks. This also helps in determining the origin point of the incoming attack and prepare accordingly for the counter-attack.

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Similar to AN/TPQ-37 radar in design and performance, Swathi WLR is more user-friendly and has a 360-degree scan capability. The detection range is up to 30km for large artillery and can extend up to 40km in cases of unguided rockets. However, as per the Indian officials, the Swathi WLR that is supplied to Armenia has an accurate range of up to 50km.

The design and algorithms of the WLR allow it to effectively function in high-density environments and in severe clutter conditions. The system that can simultaneously handle multiple projectiles from different locations, is capable of adapting the fire of its own artillery.

The system hosts weapons such as 81mm or higher calibre mortars, 105mm or higher calibre shells and 120mm or higher calibre free flying rockets.

With this deal, India hopes that the market for its indigenous systems will open up predominantly in the South-East Asian, Middle-East and Latin American regions. The edge for India is its offering of similar units at a lesser price compared to that of its European counterparts.

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The Make in India initiative in the defence sector has been an unfulfilled venture for a long time. Until May 2019, India didn’t possess a major contract under Make in India, a passion initiative for Prime Minister Modi.

The Indian government has set an export target of 35,000 crore by 2024-25. The exports in defence soared from Rs 1,500 crore in 2016-17 to 4,500 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 10,700 crore in 2018-19. The Armenian deal is set to give India a required push in the right direction.