UPSC: Satellites For Defence
Satellites For Defence
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched GSAT-7A on 19 December 2018 which is a dedicated communication satellite for defence purposes. The satellite will connect all assets of Indian Air Force (IAF) such as fighter planes, Airborne early warning control system (AWACS) and drones with each other and ground stations giving IAF network centric warfare capability. Indian Navy already has a satellite GSAT 7 (Rukmini), launched in 2013, which provides it real time secure communications over the Indian Ocean Region.
- An “artificial” satellite(different from “natural” satellites like Earth’s Moon) is an artificial object intentionally placed into orbit using a launch vehicle (rocket).
- Various types of artificial satellitesinclude civilian and militaryEarth observation satellites, communication satellites, navigation satellites, weather satellites, and space telescopes.
- A communications satellite is an artificial satellitethat relays and amplifies radio telecommunications via a It creates a communication channel between a source transmitter and a receiver at different locations on Earth.
- They can be used for television, telephone, radio, internet and military applications.
- They use a range of wide range of radio and microwave frequencies.
- Much of the world’s data, TV, and telephone communications are transmitted long distances by microwavesbetween ground stations and communication satellites.
- Frequencies in the microwave range are referred as S, C, X, Ku, K, or, Ka
- An artificial satellite used for military purpose is called a ‘military satellite’.They can be used for intelligence gathering, navigation and military communications.
- There are more than 300 military or dual-use satellites(in December 2018), mostly owned by USA, Russia, China and India.
- The GSAT satellites are India’s indigenously developed communication satellites,used for digital audio, data and video broadcasting.
- Satellites like GSAT-6 (INSAT-4E), GSAT-7, GSAT-7A, GSAT-8 (INSAT-4G), GSAT-9 (South Asia satellite), etc are in service.
- It is a military communication satellitefor the Indian Air Force (IAF). It will provide connections to various assets used by IAF uninterrupted in real time.
- It will enhance global operationsof IAF.
- It will operate in Kuband (frequencies ranging from 12-14 gigahertz) transponder which has several advantages over C-band (frequencies ranging from 4-8 gigahertz) like more powerful satellite signals, smaller antennas, and non-interference of communication signals with terrestrial microwave systems.
- Predecessor of GSAT-7A is GSAT-7that provided secure connections for Indian ships in the vast Indian Ocean Region.
- GSAT-6(launched in August 2015) is another sophisticated communication satellite gives an edge to Central Forces of India like CRPF when operating in Naxal-prone areas.
- India also has, in addition, which can do Earth imaginglike the Cartosat series. They have special cameras that can constantly view over India and Indian Ocean Region. So, all such satellites provide India an edge in warfare.
- For navigation purposes, India has Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS)or NAVIC(Navigation with Indian Constellation). It covers India and a region 1500 km around it.
7 operational satellites of IRNSS series = 3 Geostationary orbit satellites + 4 Geosynchronous satellites.
- As a competitor, China also has developed its space programand it offers services to Pakistan too. For example, like India’s NAVIC, China has its BeiDou navigation system that has been offering services to customers in Asia-Pacific Region.
Satellites are useful in providing various inputs for both civilian and military purposes. India has borders which have difficult terrains and weather conditions and so, inputs in various forms are needed through satellites. India needs to keep improving its space programs for military uses and create a space command in coming days. Remote sensing, communication and navigation are the three fields which will increase the capabilities of the defence forces.