In A First, ISRO To Launch Dedicated Communication Satellite GSAT-7A For Indian Air Force This MonthGSAT-6A Mission. (Representative image) (ISRO)

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is preparing to launch a dedicated communication satellite for the Indian Air Force in the third week of December, Times of India has reported.

“ISRO will launch a communication satellite GSAT-7A dedicated for the IAF in the third week of this month,” chairman of ISRO, K Sivan was quoted in the report as saying.

He further informed that there will be a PSLV launch in January followed by the launch of the communication satellite GSAT-31 from French Guiana to replace the INSAT 4CR which is expected to go out of service soon.

GSAT 7A, once deployed, will enable the IAF to interlink various ground radar stations, airbases, AWACS aircraft and will boost the network-centric warfare capabilities as well as enhance its global operations.

According to the report, the communication satellite, with a cost of around Rs 500-800 crore, will have a life span of nine years. ISRO’s GSLV MKII will take the satellite weighing 2.2 tonnes into orbit.

GSAT-7A deployment will also help the navy to upgrade from existing ground control stations to satellite control of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

India currently has around 13 military satellites, with most of them being remote-sensing satellites like the Cartosat-series and RISAT satellites placed in the near-earth orbit for better scanning of Earth.

However, some of the Indian military satellites are placed in the geostationary orbit. These are used for surveillance, navigation and communication purposes by the armed forces.

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