Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dedicated Satellite for Indian Navy by year-end

India's first dedicated military satellite should be up in space well within a year. Indian Space Research Organisation has fixed the "launch window'' of the naval communication and surveillance satellite between December 2010 and March 2011. The defence establishment was slightly worried ISRO might not be able to stick to the planned launch window after the failure of the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV-D3) in mid-April, which was launched with the new indigenously-developed cryogenic engine.

"But ISRO has assured us the naval satellite, with an around 1,000 nautical mile footprint over Indian Ocean, will be launched as slated... The project cost is Rs 950 crore. IAF and Army satellites will follow in a couple of years,'' said a senior MoD official on Wednesday. This comes even as the top Navy brass, led by Admiral Nirmal Verma, is currently discussing the intricacies of "navy-wide network-centric operations'' and "maritime domain awareness'', both of which hinge on dedicated satellite capabilities, during the ongoing naval commanders' conference here. Coupled with induction of eight P-8i long-range maritime patrol aircraft between 2013 and 2017 under a $2.1-billion deal inked with US, the geo-stationary satellite will ensure a quantum jump in Navy's C4ISR (command, control, communication, computer, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) capabilities.

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