Satellites are artificial objects intentionally placed into orbit using launch vehicles (rockets).
Various types of artificial satellites are there :-
- Earth Observation satellites
- Communication satellites
- Navigation satellites
- weather satellites and space telescopes
An artificial satellite used for military purposes is called “Military Satellites”. They can be used for Intelligence gathering, Navigation, Military communications, Reconnaissance, and surveillance missions. In war, the most important part is the information that we can gather by satellites without going into enemy territory because war is all about ninety percent of the information and these Military satellites strengthen the power of India to gather information.
There are more than 350 military or dual-use (use for civilian as well as military purpose) Satellites. Half of them are owned by the USA and the remaining are owned by Russia, China, India.
India has borders that have difficult terrains and weather conditions and so, inputs in various forms are needed through satellites. India needs to keep improving its space program for our armed forces. In future India, armed forces should establish special command for space.
In the current example standoff between India and China in Eastern Ladakh. Our forces are getting updates on China’s every movement with help of our satellites. Military satellites are working as a third eye of the country, which owns it.
Satellites enhance the capability of getting accurate information. During the Balakot air strike and Uri surgical strike, the live footage was seen by our defence experts and cabinet ministers due to communication satellites.
India can also generate revenue from military satellites by selling information to friendly countries. One fine example during the Balakot airstrike due to cloudy climate, India has purchased some information from private companies.
Current Military Satellites Of India
GSAT (Geo Stationary Satellite) 7
It is a multi-band Communication satellite launched by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) in September 2013. The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world”s oceanic division, covering 19.8% of the water of the earth’s surface.
It provides real times secure communications over the Indian Ocean region. The Indian Navy and Indian coast guards are the primary users of this communication system. GSAT 7 is also named as Rukmini. It provides networking capabilities to various Indian Naval assets. It as the ability to network about 60 ships and 75 aircraft at a time.
It is a dedicated communication satellite for the Indian Air Force and Indian Army using 30% of its capability. ISRO launched GSAT 7A on 19 December 2018. It enhances the global operational power of the Air Force.
The satellites will connect all assets of the Indian air force, such as fighter aircraft, Airborne early warning control system (AWACS), and drones with each other and ground stations giving IAF network-centric warfare capability.
CARTOSAT(Cartographic Satellites) Series
Cartosat are the series of Indian optical earth observation satellite, they have special Panchromatic cameras that can constantly view over India & the Indian Ocean region, so all such satellites provide India an edge in warfare. They can use for dual purposes (Civil and Military purposes). They are a part of the Indian Remote Sensing program.
1st satellite of this series was Cartosat 1 which was launched on 5 May 2005.
- Cartosat 2 was launched on 10 January. It has a Panchromatic camera that takes a black and white picture of earth. Their resolution was less than 1 meter.
- Cartosat 2A was launched on 28 April 2008 and Cartosat 2B was launched on 12 July 2010.
- Cartosat 2C has a resolution of 0.6 meters. It was launched on 22 June 2016. This satellite was used in the 2016 Surgical Strikes for taking Images of terrorist camps on POK. It is also used for weather mapping.
- Cartosat 3 is the most advanced satellite in this class, was launched on 27 November 2019 It is a third-generation agile advanced satellite with having a very high ground resolution of 25 cm. It has the most advanced panchromatic cameras. It also has thermal imaging capability.
EMISAT (Electromagnetic Intelligence Satellite)
EMISAT is a spy satellite of India. It was launched on 19 April 2019 By ISRO. It was the first electronic surveillance satellite in India.
EMISAT is primarily based on the famous Israeli spy satellite called SARAL ( Satellite with Argo and Altika) and inherits its, SSB -2 bus protocol for conducting sharp electronic surveillance across the length and breadth of India. It has been developed under DRDO’s project Kautilya which aims to boost India’s space surveillance capacity.
DRDO has taken 8 years to develop these satellites. It is one of the most advanced satellites launched by India. The satellite can detect and gather electronic intelligence from enemy radar across the borders as it circles the globe roughly pole to pole every 90 minutes.
RISAT (Radar Imaging Satellite ) 2
This is an Indian radar reconnaissance satellite and was launched on April 20, 2009. RISAT 2 is a satellite with a synthetic aperture radar (SAR). It has day-night as well as all-weather monitoring capability. It can also track unwanted ships on Indian seas.
RISAT 2 played the main role to find AN-32 transport aircraft of IAF which was lost in Arunachal Pradesh after takeoff from Jorhat airport of Assam on 22 July 2016.
This is a radar imaging earth observation satellite weighing about 628 KG. It was launched on 11 December 2019. It has a synthetic aperture radar technology of IAI (Israel aerospace industries).
RISAT 2BR1 is one of the spy satellites of India. It is an Indian radar reconnaissance satellite that is part of India’s RISAT program and the fourth satellite in the series.
The satellite gives India the capability to accurately identify two objects separated by just 35 cm.
HySIS (Hyper spectral Imaging satellite)
HySIS was launched on 29 November 2018. It gives us hyperspectral imaging services of agriculture, forestry, coastal zones, and inland waterways. Its data is also accessible to defence forces. Hence it is dual purpose use satellite.
Weight of Microsat R is 740 kg . It was launched on 24 January 2019.
Microsat R was part of a Mission Shakti. MISSION SHAKTI was one of the achievements for India in the space sector. The Anti Satellite weapon was tested by destroying MICROSAT R satellite which was present in a low Earth orbit. After the US, Russia, and China India has become the fourth country to have this anti-satellite weapon missile in the world. The test was done on 27 March 2019.