The Indian Government is mulling to rename the Indian Air Force (IAF) to Indian Air and Space Force.
Former IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauri described this as a postive development, stating that this is a 'work in progress,' and makes a lot of sense.
He said, “If you look from the point of synergy and core strength, then air and space force will be a step in the right direction. But like I said, it is a work in progress. It is something which is being discussed. It is an evolution which will take place as things move forward and the right decisions will be taken.”
Amid these talks Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) has decided to establish a facility in Bengaluru for manufacturing high-resolution imagery satellites, betting big on the military space sector, reported Economic Times.
This marks a significant investment in the military space sector.
The facility will manufacture satellites capable of sub-metre resolution, including a ground station for satellite control and image processing, crucial for armed forces operations in monitoring infrastructure and identifying military targets.
According to the report, the Defence Ministry has recently challenged the Indian industry to develop satellites with metre and sub-metre resolutions for military applications.
Leveraging TASL’s extensive defence expertise, the facility plans to produce up to 24 low earth orbit (LEO) satellites annually.
This venture is in collaboration with Satellogic, a Latin American firm specialising in earth observation satellites. The first satellite, offering 0.5-metre spatial resolution imagery, is anticipated to be launch-ready within six months.
Responding to an inquiry, TASL confirmed the establishment of an assembly, integration, and testing (AIT) facility.
According to the report, TASL expressed the critical need for advanced resolution imagery satellites for Indian military. It emphasised that TASL’s partnership with Satellogic, which has a strong background in satellite technology, forms the core of their strategy.
Currently, the Indian armed forces rely on satellite imagery from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and, when necessary, procure commercial images from international sources.
The heightened need for surveillance, particularly after recent incidents along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, has led to increased dependency on foreign imagery sources.
Using foreign services for satellite imagery requires sharing coordinates of targeted areas, which poses security concerns. A domestically operated ground station would significantly enhance the security and efficiency of surveillance operations.
TASL aims to utilise its expertise in system integration, electronics, and software development to innovate satellites with varying payloads to meet defence needs. The company plans to increasingly localise production and develop indigenous payloads.
TASL already supplies a variety of products to the armed forces, including loitering munitions, UAV control centres, artillery systems, and aerostructures. It is also collaborating with Airbus to manufacture C-295 military transport aircraft.
Editorial Associate at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.
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