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Navy to get dedicated communication satellite

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Navy will get a dedicated satellite for making its communication robust and secure and to also propel its network-centric operations and connectivity at sea, Defence Minister A K Antony has said.

"The Navy's efforts towards network centric operations and leveraging information technology are laudable. The launch of the Naval Communication Satellite next year will significantly improve connectivity at sea," Antony said, inaugurating the Navy Senior Officers Conference here on Thursday.

The satellite, being built by ISRO, would be on a geo-stationary orbit and would provide an overview of about 600 to 1,000 nautical miles of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), which India considers to be its primary area of responsibility in terms of maritime security.

"The new satellite, which will primarily provide for communication among naval stations and platforms at sea, is expected to transform the entire maritime domain awareness of the Navy," a Navy officer said, when asked about the satellite's capabilities.

At present, Navy depends on foreign satellites for providing data. Once the geo-stationary satellite is put in orbit by ISRO, it will provide a secure, independent data link and network-centric operations capability for the Navy.

Under the Defence Ministry plans for space-based military assets, Navy would get its dedicated communication satellite first, followed by the Air Force and the Army.

"US Navy, in fact, has capabilities to track underwater targets too using its satellites. We are not looking at that kind of a capability at present. We only want a secure communication network, as it is easy to intercept high frequency radio communications which Naval ships like to avoid," the Navy officer said.

On the need for a dedicated communication satellite, the officer said the Navy was not getting data of the kind the ISRO-built satellite would provide in the future.

"At present, we have to depend on polar satellite from foreign sources. That presents its own kind of problems of dependability. Hence, we need a satellite of our own," the officer added.

Antony also told the conference that the Navy must double its efforts towards synergising the widely dispersed intellectual capital available in the country from academia, research and development organisations and industry.

"Such a synergy would be the right step towards achieving self-reliance in areas where key technologies are being used," he added.

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