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By Bulbul Singh

18 Jan 11. The Indian Navy and Israel have concluded agreements on the use of Israeli spy satellites to keep a watch on sea passages along India’s 7600 kilometre coastal border. No details are available, but sources said an Israeli satellite is being leased.

The need for better surveillance was mooted after the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks during which the terrorists entered by sea off the coast of Gujarat near Kutch.

Sources said, “The Israeli Ofeq series of satellites will be used by the Indian Navy. However, there is no official confirmation on the details of the satellite and the commercial arrangements to be agreed.

Strangely, the tie-up by the Indian Navy with Israel comes at a time when the Indian Navy is planning its own dedicated military satellite, which suggests that its military satellite is not ready, said analysts.

India’s indigenous Geostationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV-06), built by India’s Space Research Organization(ISRO) broke up on December 25, 2010.

The Indian Navy had plans to share GSAT-7 which is now not likely before 2012 in view of the failure of GSLV-06.

The Indian Navy needs a dedicated satellite to advance its multi-million dollar NCW systems which will include networking varieties of Indian Navy sea-based assets.

The proposed indigenous Indian Navy satellite will be a geo-stationary satellite and have a 600-1,000 nautical mile footprint over the Indian Ocean Region linked to a number of C4ISR systems.

At a cost of around $1 billion, the dedicated satellite will be built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in collaboration with DRDO and will be launched by ISRO. However ISRO said, “They cannot tell when a dedicated Indian navy satellite will be launched.” adding that, “It is up to the DRDO to tell when they have completed the build.”

Currently the Indian defence forces do not have a dedicated military satellite and have to depend on the 1-meter resolution Technology Experiment Satellite (TES) launched in 2001.

Future Satellites

The indigenous military satellite program likely to be completed by 2015 is the Communication-Centric Intelligence Satellite (CCI-Sat). It is being developed by DRDO and tipped as India’s first original spy satellite and launched by ISRO. The satellite will be placed in orbit at 500 kilometres and will be equipped with synthetic aperture radar to take high resolution images of the target regions.

Currently, India is using the Technology Experiment Satellite (TES) for military purposes, which are mainly weather satellites. The other indigenous satellites being used for military purposes are the Cartosat series of satellites and the Radar Imaging Satellite (Risat-2).

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