The first dedicated military satellite for the Indian Armed Forces will become a reality in a month as the naval surveillance satellite gets readied for its launch. According to reports, the geostationary satellite will have over 1,000 nautical mile footprint over the Indian Ocean Region. Apparently, a new post has already been created called Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (ACNS) to supervise space-based military capabilities.
The military satellite will cover an area of over 1,000 nautical miles over the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) stretching from Africa's east coast up till Malacca Strait. The idea is to enable the naval force to network its warships, submarines and aircraft with operational centres ashore through high-speed data-links.
The pivotal role of the naval surveillance and communication satellite is to create synergy between its combat platforms and its land-based nodes through advanced communications and space systems. The intention is to turn the Indian Navy into a force geared towards network-centric operations for future challenges.
Meanwhile, Rear Admiral Kishan K Pandey has taken over as the new ACNS (communications, space and network-centric operations) of the Indian Navy. Besides laying down the infrastructure for network-centric operations, organisational changes have also been deliberated to carry out the new mode of naval operations and the ability to combat using space-based capabilities.
Last month, Defence Minister AK Antony had stated that India’s Navy and Air Force will have dedicated communication satellites between 2012 and 2014. While the naval satellite is almost ready to be launched, this will be followed by the army and air force communication satellite. The Indian Armed Forces have been dependent on "dual-use'' Indian satellites besides leasing the transponders on foreign ones for their navigation, communication, surveillance and reconnaissance purposes.
For the Indian Navy, the dedicated satellite will boost the maritime capabilities significantly at a time when the Indian Ocean region is greatly vulnerable to various threats including piracy as well as increasing Chinese presence in the region. It will enable the effective surveillance of that region to ensure that no foul play goes unnoticed and the sea lanes of communication is protected.
Defence Minister has also indicated that the tri-services defence communication network (DCN) is being progressed as per the defence procurement procedure. The DCN envisages a network of optical fiber cables, satellite, earth stations and transportable and portable satellite terminals with high security features.