By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: Are our space assets safe? Is the threat, if any, a problem? Whats does it involve? What is the solution? Answers to all these relevant queries are captured in a new book titled 'Space Security -- Need of Global Convergence' published by Pentagon Press. Authored by Dr Arvind Gupta, Lal Bahadur Shastri Chair, Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), Prof Amitav Mallik, former member, National Security Advisory Board and Wg Cdr Ajey Lele, a research fellow with IDSA, the book dwells upon the challenges in front of India in the wake of anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities developed by China.
Stunning the space powers and sending out warning bells, China had demonstrated its ASAT capability in January 2007 by destroying its weather satellite (not in operation). “This aspect (the Chinese threat) needs to be analyzed in terms of its present and future plans and more so on space systems for both military and civil applications. India needs to concentrate more on space exploitation capabilities development both for space and ground systems than concentrating its efforts and finances on space weapon systems,” opines the book.
With India mastering the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) technology, and exhibiting its capability to launch a number of satellites through a single launch, the authors see the need for smaller satellites for surveillance/earth observation in low earth orbit. “India must develop alternates to space system to support requirements . The space systems should act only as a redundancy or as an alternative to terrestrial or aerial platforms. For sea-based forces, the space system be planned as complementary to the existing systems. This will ensure better exploitation of adversary weakness while one can continue to exploit its own space assets,” the book recommends.
Saying that electronically fighting a war in space will be both economical and effective in comparison to employing other forms of weapons against space systems, the authors strongly pitches for India expanding its scope of its existing electronic warfare (EW) units. “Include the cyber warfare capabilities and other EW measures against satellites by employing static, mobile and on the move satellite terminals. They will be effective even on fringe of the adversary satellite footprint and shall also offer protection against detection and conventional weapon attack. Simultaneously India should also develop capabilities to counter adversary EW attack on its space systems ,” the authors felt.
THREAT TO SPACE SYSTEMS*
1. Electronic warfare such as jamming communications and command-control system/links.
2. Physical attacks on satellite ground stations and hit -to-kill anti-satellite weapons.
3. Dazzling or blinding of satellite sensors.
4. Attacks by micro-satellites to acts as space mines and pellet cloud attacks on lo-orbit satellites.
5. High-altitude nuclear detonations (HAND).
6. Space debris.
(*Source: Space Security -- Need of Global Convergence, Pentagon Books)
This article appeared on Jan 22 Edition of Express. Copyright@The New Indian Express