Indian Navy To Get First Dedicated Military Satellite

The Indi­an Navy is final­ly set to get their first-ever ded­i­cat­ed mil­i­tary satel­lite, a naval sur­veil­lance and com­mu­ni­ca­tions one, as part of their long-stand­ing quest to effec­tive­ly har­ness the final fron­tier of space.

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The satel­lite is ready and is on stand­by for launch. This would be the first ded­i­cat­ed satel­lite for the Indi­an Navy and would full fill the Navy’s ‘Ruk­mani’ project which is aimed at achiev­ing full net­work cen­tric­i­ty to achieve enhanced mar­itime domain aware­ness.

The geo-sta­tion­ary naval satel­lite has “already been shipped out” for its launch that will take place “with­in a month or so”, gov­ern­ment sources said.

The Indi­an Navy has been tight lipped about the satel­lite and it’s launch as it will add a huge tech­no­log­i­cal leap for a navy that is already a for­mi­da­ble force to reck­on with.

The satel­lite, will have over a 1,000 nau­ti­cal mile foot­print over the Indi­an Ocean Region (IOR) stretch­ing from Africa’s east coast right till Malac­ca Strait, will enable the Navy to net­work all its war­ships, sub­marines and air­craft with oper­a­tional cen­tres ashore through high-speed data-links.

Ground based infra­struc­ture and instal­la­tion of equip­ments on war­ships has been test­ed thor­ough­ly. Dur­ing the last naval exer­cise, the Indi­an Navy had exten­sive­ly test­ed it’s net­work cen­tric­i­ty. The exer­cise was held using a hired com­mu­ni­ca­tion satel­lite through which the entire fleet was linked.

The ships oper­at­ing in the Bay of Ban­gal would get real-time data from ships oper­at­ing in the Ara­bi­an Sea. There are around 300 ded­i­cat­ed or dual-use mil­i­tary satel­lites orbit­ing around the earth at present, with the US oper­at­ing over 50% of them, fol­lowed by Rus­sia and Chi­na.

Chi­na, in par­tic­u­lar, is pur­su­ing an exten­sive mil­i­tary-space pro­gramme that even extends to advanced ASAT (anti-satel­lite) capa­bil­i­ties with “direct-ascent” mis­siles, hit-to-kill “kinet­ic” and direct­ed-ener­gy laser weapons.

DRDO, on its part, con­tends it can quick­ly fash­ion ASAT weapons, if required, by mar­ry­ing the propul­sion sys­tem of the over 5,000-km Agni‑V mis­sile test­ed recent­ly with the “kill vehi­cle” of the almost-ready two-tier BMD ( bal­lis­tic mis­sile sys­tem) sys­tem it has devel­oped.

But India is still some dis­tance away from effec­tive ASAT capa­bil­i­ties. The gov­ern­ment is also not yet will­ing to estab­lish a tri-Ser­vice Aero­space Com­mand on the lines of the Strate­gic Forces Com­mand which han­dles nuclear weapons.


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