A communications satellite, dubbed the “Indian Angry Bird”, meant for the exclusive use of the Indian Air Force, took off from the launchpad of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh and was placed in orbit this evening. The GSAT-7A will connect all IAF assets like planes, airborne early warning control platforms and drones with each other and ground stations, and work towards a network-centric warfare capability.
It will also reduce the possibility of snooping and leakage of information that’s possible while using satellites launched by foreign operators.
GSAT-7A has been placed in the geostationary orbit and this communication satellite is expected to help the IAF to interlink different ground radar stations, airbases and AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) aircraft. The idea is to improve the IAF’s network-centric warfare capabilities.
It is an advanced communication satellite with a Gregorian Antenna and many other new technologies.
It is the heaviest satellite being launched by GSLV with an indigenously developed cryogenic stage.
The GSAT-7A is expected to have the Ku-band transponders and two deployable solar arrays onboard.
It is the 39th Indian communication satellite of ISRO to provide services to the users in Ku-band over the Indian region.
The GSAT-7A is also expected to be a big push for drone operations as it will help the Navy reduce the reliance on on-ground control stations and take satellite-control of military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) which should help boost the range and endurance of the UAVs.
The satellite, being dubbed as ‘angry bird’ by some, is likely to enhance the range of communication and also aid in aircraft to aircraft communication.
In addition to GSAT-7A, the IAF would also be getting the GSAT-7C in a few years, to boost the network-centric operations.
Background- GSAT 7 series:
The GSAT 7 series was launched in 2013 as a dedicated communications satellite for the Indian Navy, which made the Navy completely independent of relying on foreign satellites for its blue water capabilities, thanks to GSAT 7 having a 2,000 nautical mile footprint. This helps in providing real-time inputs to Indian warships, submarines and maritime aircraft.
The GSLV is ISRO’s fourth generation launch vehicle that has three stages. The four liquid strap-ons and a solid rocket motor at the core constitute the first stage. The second stage is equipped with a high thrust engine that uses liquid fuel.
The cryogenic upper stage forms the third and final stage of the vehicle. The GSLV-F11 was the seventh flight carrying indigenously developed cryogenic upper stage.