Bharat Electronics Limited (Bel), a Hyderabadi defence supplier, secured a contract to supply the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) with 11 ‘Shakti’ EW systems and supplementary equipment.

Under a contract worth Rs2.26bn crore ($273m), the systems will be installed on-board leading warships across the Indian Navy fleet.

The project will generate employment equal to 250,000 man-days over a period of four years. 155 local industry partners will participate in delivering the systems, including micro, small, and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs). This will cultivate the vision enshrined in the Government’s ‘Self-Reliant India’ (Atmanirbhar Bharat) policy.

Shakti is indigenously designed, developed and manufactured. The system accurately intercepts electronic emissions and implements countermeasures, such as jamming, in a dense electromagnetic environment. BEL specifically designed the system to provide an electronic layer of defence against modern radars and anti-ship missiles.

It also has a built-in radar fingerprinting and data recording replay feature for post-mission analysis. 

Shakti integration

According to the MoD, the Shakti systems have been in development for India’s suface combatants for some time now.

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The first was installed on-board INS Visakhapatnam – a Project 15B stealth guided-missile destroyer (D66) – and has been installed on-board the indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant.

In November 2021, 12 Shakti systems were under production at BEL, supported by more than fifty MSMEs at a total cost of Rs 1805 Crores.

These systems are scheduled to be installed on-board capital warships under production, including P-15Bs such as INS Imphal which embarked on its maiden sea trials in May last year; P-17A frigates; and Talwar class follow-on ships.

INS Visakhapatnam (D66) during sea trials, 28 October 2021. Credit: Indian Government via Wikimedia Commons.

Global EW market

The global EW market, valued at $13.9bn in 2023, and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.6% over between 2023 and 2028, according to intelligence from the leading data and analytics company GlobalData. It also expects the market value to reach $21.8bn by 2033 and cumulatively value $194.2bn over the forecast period.

Among geographic segments, North America is projected to dominate the sector with a share of 34.1%, followed by Asia-Pacific and Europe, with shares of 29.0% and 27.3%, respectively – this EW investment focus indicates the priority of the system for the two geopolitical rivals, US and China.