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Indian Army orders mountain variant of WLR

BEL has developed a lighter, compact variant of its Swathi Mark I weapon location radar (pictured here). The new system is intended for operations on mountains and at high altitudes. (BEL)

The Indian Army has ordered six units of a new “mountain variant” of a weapon location radar (WLR) system developed by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

Speaking to Janes at a recent event, Anandi Ramalingam, BEL's chairman and managing director, said that six Swathi Mark II units were ordered.

“The six units ordered are the mountain version of the WLR, which are lighter in weight,” Ramalingam said. “The Indian Army operates around 30 of the older Mark I variants.”

According to a BEL source, the Mark I variant, which is spread across 8×8 wheeled Tatra trucks, comprises two vehicles weighing 30 and 28 tons. The Mark II variant, which is based across two 6×6 wheeled Tatra trucks, weighs 18 tons each. “This is to satisfy the army's primary requirement that the platform should comply with bridging capacities,” the source said.

“We expect delivery to start in the latter part of this year and for the order of six to be completed by 2023,” the source added.

BEL said that the WLR is built around an electronically scanned C-band pulse-Doppler radar. Ramalingam added that the unit is designed to locate hostile heavy-bore guns, mortars, and rocket launchers. The system is also equipped with an automatic data transfer system.

According to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the radar can also detect projectiles with small cross-sections across a battlespace. The unit has “the capability to handle simultaneous fire from weapons deployed at multiple locations”, the DRDO said.

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