New Delhi. In a move to boost communications between its warships, aircraft and shore-based units, the Indian Navy has placed an order worth Rs 1,589 crore with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for a new dedicated military satellite.
The satellite—named GSAT 7R—will include launch cost and procurement of necessary infrastructure on ground and is expected to eventually replace the first dedicated Indian military satellite, the GSAT 7, which was launched in 2013.
The order for the satellite was placed on June 11, and the newly-sanctioned triservices Defence Space Agency is likely to get several new assets in the coming months for communication as well as surveillance.
The GSAT 7R, will be designed to be compatible with a variety of platforms including future submarines of the Indian Navy, is expected to be launched next year. In December last year, a dedicated military communications satellite for the Indian Air Force, dubbed the Indian Angry Bird, was also launched by ISRO.
The GSAT 7A satellite, which went into orbit onboard the indigenous GSLV Mk II rocket, is being used for communication between all strategic platforms of the air force, including fighter jets, drones and early warning aircraft. The GSAT 6, launched in 2015, is being used for communication by ground forces.
India has been steadily increasing its presence in space that started with the series of dual use satellite from the CARTOSAT and RISAT family that are used for surveillance. In April this year, ISRO launched the strategic EMISAT that has been designed to pick up electromagnetic signals and is likely to be used for communication interception and detection of enemy assets.
The biggest surprise that India pulled off however was Anti-Satellite Test carried out on March 27, in which a ground-based interceptor successfully destroyed a low earth orbit satellite putting India in a select grouping of the US, Russia and China with demonstrated anti-satellite capability.