ISRO gears up to launch the GSAT-7A for the IAF, to upgrade drone surveillance
In a major boost to the Indian Air Force surveillance capabilities, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is due to launch a dedicated communication satellite for the force, GSAT-7A, in the third week of December 2018. To be deployed in the geostationary orbit, GSAT-7A will assist the IAF to interlink different ground radar stations, airbases and (Airborne Warning and Control System) AWACS aircraft.
Recognising the IAF’s need for network-centric warfare capabilities and space dominance in defence, India is now fast tracking the deployment of the military satellites. And analysts are foreseeing a surge in such satellite deployments by India post the launch of the GSAT-7A for the Indian Air Force.
GSAT-7A will radically transform how India operates its military drones, upgrading the control systems from ground stations to satellite control, resulting in improved endurance, flexibility and reach of drone operations. The satellite has been indigenously developed, at a cost of Rs 500-800 crores. GSAT-7A is equipped with Ku-band transponders and two deployable solar arrays. The satellite weighing 2.2 tonnes will be launched by GSLV Mk II.
The satellite will be instrumental in guiding the defence forces for beyond the line of sight missions. The GSAT-7A has a wide footprint, beyond the extended neighbourhood, which will be highly advantageous for the forces.
ISRO is gearing up to launch a number of missions in the coming year, besides the heavy communication satellite, GSAT-31, to be launched from French Guiana. GSAT-7A is the second Indian satellite to be dedicated exclusively for the armed forces, the first one being GSAT-7, which was launched in September 2013 for the Indian Navy.