The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is planning to launch a dedicated communication satellite for defence purposes next week.
Isro is all set to launch the communication satellite GSAT-7A on board the GSLV-F11 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on December 19, 2018. The satellite will weigh 2.2 tonnes and will be launched by the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV Mk II) rocket, said Isro.
The satellite will be placed in the geostationary orbit and this communication satellite is expected to help the IAF interlink different ground radar stations, airbases and AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) aircraft.
GSAT-7A is the 35th Indian Communication satellite built by Isro. The GSAT-7A spacecraft is configured on Isro’s standard I-2,000 Kg (I-2K) bus. The satellite is built to provide communication capability to the users in Ku-band over the Indian region. Total cost of the GSAT-7A is estimated to be in the region of Rs 6-8 billion and its life is estimated to be around nine years, according to Isro sources.
The satellite will enable the IAF to interlink different ground radar stations, ground airbase and airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft, such as Beriev A-50 Phalcon and DRDO AEW&CS. The satellite will also enhance Network-centric warfare capabilities of the Indian Air Force and therefore enhance its global operations.
GSAT-7A is also expected to give a major push for drone operations as it would help the Navy reduce the reliance on on-ground control stations and take satellite-control of military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), which should help boost the range and endurance of the UAVs, said industry experts.
In addition to GSAT-7A, the IAF would also be getting the GSAT-7C in a few years, to boost the network-centric operations.
The GSAT 7 series was launched in 2013 as a dedicated communications satellite for the Indian Navy, which made the Navy completely independent of relying on foreign satellites.
GSAT 7 currently has a 2,000 nautical mile footprint and provides real-time inputs to Indian warships, submarines and maritime aircraft.
According to reports, India has around 13 military satellites, with most of them being remote-sensing satellites like the Cartosat-series and RISAT satellites placed in the near-earth orbit for better scanning of Earth.
However, some of the Indian military satellites are placed in the geostationary orbit. These are used for surveillance, navigation and communication purpose by the armed forces.