Bangalore: Taking serious note of China’s growing defence capabilities, particularly its anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon system, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik on Friday sought the development of India’s own missile system that can destroy enemy satellites.
“Our satellites are vulnerable to ASAT weapon systems because our neighbourhood possesses one,” Naik said, while delivering the Air Chief Marshal LM Katre memorial lecture at the HAL Convention Centre here.
“We need to develop ASAT technology. It is one of our challenges of future war capability,” he said.
He was referring to the vulnerability of a series of communication, weather and remote-sensing satellites of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), which are in orbit.
If the satellites are targeted, there could be widespread chaos in the country. Indian TV channels would go off the air, satellite communication links would snap, and there would be no updates on weather and climatic data, which is crucial for aviation, shipping and meteorology.
Isro also has the Technology Experiment Satellite, launched on October 22, 2001, in orbit.
The satellite is equipped with a one-metre resolution camera and
is capable of sending images of troop movements and installations.
The first images of this satellite were requisitioned by the United Statesfor its Afghan operations.
“Defending our space-based assets is important and the IAFhas to protect them,” said the air chief.
China demonstrated its ASAT capability in January 2007; the US followed suit the next year. These are the only countries with ASAT capability as of now.
S Chandrashekhar, National Institute of Advanced Studies, who is studying India’s space weaponisation, toldDNA that scientists only need to fine-tune the existing missile and rocket-launching technologies to develop an ASAT system that will act as an effective counter to China’s.