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INDIA TO LAUNCH SERIES OF MILITARY SATELLITES

INDIA TO LAUNCH SERIES OF MILITARY SATELLITES
By Bulbul Singh

13 Oct 10. India is to build and launch a series of military satellites on the lines of the United States, Russia and Israel. The announcement was made by Dr V.K. Saraswat, Head of India’s DRDO and Scientific Adviser to the Indian Defence Minister, is the first official acknowledgement of India’s military satellite programme.

This announcement talks of a blueprint under which India will send a series of military satellites for the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. “While the exact blueprint is not available, India’s dedicated satellite programme is likely to take off from 2012-13 onwards,” said sources.

Last week Saraswat announced that a series of military satellites would be launched to meet the various requirements of the Army, Navy and Air Force. They would be used for communication, observation of intruders and troop movement, imaging of land areas and navigation required to accurately guide missiles to the targets. The road map has been drawn for the launch of the military satellites to be undertaken with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

While Indian defence ministry officials announced last year that India will send a dedicated Navy satellite in 2011, sources in Indian Space Research Organisation, (ISRO) said that they were not aware of any such programme.

It is still not known whether the project on satellites is a new project or is part of an earlier project announced in which India had said it would launch a dedicated satellite for the Navy in 2011.

Currently the Indian military uses indigenous communication and weather satellites. There are 10 active Indian remote sensing satellites in operation – IRS-1C, IRS-1D, IRS-P3, Oceansat-1/2, Resourcesat-1, CARTOSAT 1/2 and the Technology Experiment Satellite (TES) and another 680kg Cartosat 2B launched by a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C-15)on 12th July, 2010. They are all placed in 650 to 820km polar sun-synchronous orbits, carrying multiple cameras, which include Panchromatic Camera (PAN), Linear Imaging Self Scanner (LISS-III) and Wide Field Sensor (WiFS). The satellites are intended for advanced mapping and intelligence applications.

Last year India launched an ocean-monitoring satellite OCEANSAT 2 and six European nano satellites aboard the home-built Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from Indian facilities. Oceansat-3, is planned for launch in 2012.

While Oceansat-2 is a weather satellite, the Indian Navy is using the satellite for military purposes, which include boosting anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

India is also using its RISAT-2 satellite, built by Israel, launched last year for military purposes, including reconnaissance capabilities. The RISAT-2 has panchromatic cameras and radar capability.

The launch of the series of dedicated military satellites will ultimately integrate India’s NCW capabilities. The satellite over the sea will give the Indian Navy better maritime domain awareness and integrate all maritime assets with Command Headquarters which will integrate the soldier on the battlefield with the Battlefield Management System being built by the Indian Army and other C4ISR systems, including the Tactical Communication System (TCS) proposed to be built by state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited at a cost of over $1bn.

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