Monday, June 26, 2017

Military uses 13 satellites to keep eye on enemies

Jun 26 2017 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Military uses 13 satellites to keep eye on enemies
New Delhi

With the successful launch of the “eye in the sky“ Cartosat-2-E satellite with surveillance capabilities last Friday , the total number of satellites being used for military purpose has gone up to 13, an Isro source said.These military satellites, which can be used for surveillance and mapping border areas, are primarily used for keeping an eye on enemies both on land and sea.“Most of these remotesensing satellites are placed in the near-earth orbit. Placing these satellites at the sunsynchronous polar orbit (about 200-1,200 km above the earth's surface) helps in better scanning of the earth.However, some of these satellites have also been put in the geo orbit,“ the source said.
The recently launched 712-kg Cartosat-2 series spacecraft is an advanced remotesensing satellite capable of providing scene-specific spot imagery . It has a spatial resolution of 0.6 metre, which means it can accurately spot objects smaller than 1 metre.The Cartosat-2 satellites, whose high-resolution panchromatic (PAN) camera takes black and white pictures of the earth, can cover swath of 9.6 km. The images from the same-series satellite launched earlier were used by the Army to launch surgical strikes on terror launchpads across the Line of Control in September last year.Besides pictures, the Cartosats can also be used for recording videos of sensitive targets from space. Once the latest Cartosat becomes operational, it will be “handed over“ to the defence forces, which have their own stations and manpower to access data.
“The 13 satellites used by the military for surveillance purpose include Cartosat 1 and 2 series satellites and remote-sensing satellites Risat-1 and Risat-2,“ the source said.
The Indian Navy also uses multi-band communication satellite Gsat-7 or Insat-4F, which has been operational since September 2013. The satellite, which is considered the first dedicated military communication satellite, is being used exclusively by the Navy to shore up secure and real-time communication among its warships, submarines, aircraft and land systems. The satellite enabled the Navy to stop relying on foreign satellites like Inmarsat for ship communication.
The Isro source said INSAT-3D and INSAT-3DR meteorological satellites, besides their civilian use, are also being used by the military to find out the weather pattern for performing any military operations, the source said. These satellites also aid in search and rescue operations.
India also has the capability to build an anti-satellite weapon (ASAT), which is meant to incapacitate or destroy enemy satellites. Currently, only the US, Russia, and China are known to have developed these weapons.
However, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has no intention to engage in such an anti-satellite weapon project as its focus is on civilian programmes. Tapan Misra, director of Ahmedabadbased Space Applications Centre, said, “Isro follows international norms (1967 Outer Space Treaty), which prohibit member space agencies from militarising outer space.“
Explaining how India's ballistic missile can double up as a satellite launcher in times of need, Ravi Gupta, defence technology expert and former director (public interface), Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), said, “ After the successful testing and retesting of Agni-V , this ballistic missile can also be used for `launch on demand'.“
“The time of face-to-face war is gone. Today's war is basically an information warfare. If the communication system of the enemy is disrupted, it will cripple the enemy's military systems,“ Gupta added.

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