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By Bulbul Singh

27 May 10. Indian scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO), have completed major work on the indigenous geo-stationary satellite for the Indian Navy and notified the Indian Navy that the satellite would be ready for launch by the end of the year.

“The dedicated satellite is aimed at giving a big push to Indian Navy C4ISR capabilities,” said an Indian Navy official.

The Indian Navy official said, “The ultimate aim of the satellite would be to enhance the network centric warfare (NCW) capabilities which will greatly improve battlefield situational awareness through real-time projection of the battlefield. Scattered assets of the Indian Navy at different geographical locations would be interlocked as a unified force, once the satellite is operational.”

“The ISRO assurance came as a relief to the Indian Navy.” said the officialadding that there were apprehensions about the time scheduled for the satellite after the failure of the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV-D3) in mid-April, which was launched with the new indigenously-developed cryogenic engine. The dedicated satellite will help the navy accelerate its NCW operations and will significantly improve connectivity at sea.

The satellite, which will have a 1000 nautical mile footprint over the Indian Ocean Region, will enable Indian Navy to network all its warships, submarines and aircraft with operational centres ashore through high-speed data-links.

The Indian defence forces are planning to have dedicated military satellites for real-time communication and reconnaissance missions to keep closer tabs on enemy troop movements and other assets.

The Indian Navy satellite will integrate the U.S. long range P-8i maritime reconnaissance aircraft ordered from the United States, with Indian Navy’s other sea-based assets, to build a NCW structure.

The dedicated satellite will enable the Indian Navy to operate effectively in India’s strategic interests which stretch from the Persian Gulf thru the Malacca Strait to the Indian Ocean.

The naval satellite will be followed by separate IAF and Army ones in 2011-2012.

The Indian Navy is also to develop a Network Centric Operation (NCO) system to be linked to the satellite in two to three years at a cost of around $1bn.

The NCO will be able to track and engage information about enemy and friendly platforms on real-time basis.

The Indian Navy ultimately plans to link even the long-range missiles, radars and air defence systems on all the sea-based assets to a central control room which will take another six to seven years.

Besides, the Indian Navy, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army have also drawn up NCW equipment purchase plans

The Indian Army is to get a new Tactical Communication System [TCS] for battlefield communications worth $1bn, under which communication systems will be integrated from the theatre command areas down to the troops deployed in forward areas. The project will use a variety of communication applications including wired or wireless equipments supporting voice, video, data, fax and other value added services.

Another ambitious Indian Army NCW program is the procurement of Battlefield Management Systems (BMS) worth $1bn. The BMS will comprise palm computers at the soldier level and tactical computers at the command level.

The Indian Air Force is to procure a program called Integrated Air Command, Control and Communication System (IACCCS), which will integrate air command, control and communication systems and modernize the existing Air Defence Ground Environment System (ADGES

Another major NCW program, which is likely to see competition only among domestic companies, is the setting up of a Defence Communication Network (DCN) program worth $100m; presently, Army, Navy and Air Force have their stand-alone network. The DCN is a

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