Indian Army has conducted a major pan-India exercise codenamed ‘Skylight’. This was aimed to test the operational readiness and robustness of its hi-tech satellite communication systems in the event of an attack by an adversary.
- This exercise, conducted by Indian Army, was the first of its kind large-scale exercise to boost its space domain capabilities.
- The aim of the exercise was to test operational readiness of satellite communication assets and training of personnel manning these.
- This was a pan-India exercise covering the islands of Andaman and Lakshadweep to the high reaches of the northern borders.
- All satellite communication assets of the Indian Army were activated during this exercise.
Rationale behind this exercise –
- The idea was to validate and showcase the resilience of its communication capabilities in case terrestrial connectivity is disrupted in future conflicts.
- Space-based communications will prove to be decisive in a conflict as terrestrial systems are bound to get disrupted.
- India wants to leverage space capabilities for supporting a variety of military operations.
- Complex aerospace technology has begun impacting military operations, and communications, in particular.
- Hence, it is important to build and refine technical competence in this field.
- The northern borders with China are a primary area of concern because of the challenges related to topography.
- This exercise also assumes significance against the backdrop of China’s long-standing thrust on “informatised” and “intelligentised” warfare.
- China is leagues ahead in space, cyberspace, robotics, lethal autonomous weapon systems, artificial intelligence warfare.
- Keeping this in mind, Indian Army is also pursuing ‘Quantum Computing and Communications’ for much better and secure C4I2SR systems for wars of future.
- C4I2SR stands for command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, information, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Space communication by Indian Army –
- The Indian Army uses the services of a number of ISRO satellites that connect hundreds of communication terminals of various types.
- These include static terminals, transportable vehicle mounted terminals, man-portable and small form factor man-pack terminals.
- Unlike the Indian Air Force and the navy, the army currently does not have a dedicated satellite.
Indian Army satellite by 2025 –
- The army is on course to get its own satellite by December 2025.
- The Defence Acquisition Council, the government’s top weapons procurement body, gave the go ahead for the Indian Army’s Satellite GSAT-7B in March 2022. The GSAT-7 series of advanced satellites built by ISRO is designed to provide communication capabilities to users over vast expanses including oceans.
- The satellite has been designed as an indigenous multiband satellite with advanced security features.
- It will support tactical communication requirements for not only troops deployed on the ground, but also for remotely piloted aircraft, air defence weapons and other mission-critical and fire support platforms.