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How ISRO’s Angry Bird Satellite Will Up The Ante For Defence Communications

How ISRO’s Angry Bird Satellite Will Up The Ante For Defence Communications

ISRO has been on a launching spree since the last three months. From launching the satellite mission of Cartosat-2 or PSLV C-40 to the recent GSAT 11, India’s space organisation is now launching its missions back to back for different purposes. With this launching spree it has launched another satellite which is a geostationary satellite called GSAT 7A, this Wednesday.

What Is Angry Bird?

GSAT-7A is a geostationary satellite launched by ISRO with the help of the GSLV F-11 launch vehicle. It is a communication satellite weighing 2,250 kgs and is ISRO’s second communication satellite primarily meant for the purpose of communication.


GSLV F-11 carried the satellite and lifted off from the second launch pad (SLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC) at Sriharikota. It was the 13th flight of the GSLV Mark II and 7th with an indigenous cryogenic engine.

After the liftoff, the satellite was sent into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, which is based on the Hohmann transfer maneuver, to move it from the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) eventually into a geostationary orbit.

In the coming days, the satellite will be moved to its final geostationary orbital at an altitude of around 35,000km by firing its onboard propulsion system.

Angry Bird’s Mission Objective

The primary objective of this geosynchronous satellite launch is to improve and enhance the communication capabilities of Indian Air Force. It will interlink all the ground-based radars, airbases and Electronic Warfare and Cyber (AEW&C) aircraft for the purpose of surveillance. It will also help to maintain the air superiority. The satellite, being a communication satellite, will work for the KU band and enhance the KU band communication system. It will improve the communication range, helping in a better plane to plane communication to the IAF. The satellite will interlink all the ground-based radars, airbases and airborne early warning and control aircraft for surveillance and maintain air superiority. It will gather intelligence by detecting aircraft, vessels and other vehicles in long range. The satellite having a lifetime of eight years is expected to boost IAF’s network centric warfare capabilities.

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This satellite is dedicated to work to assist the IAF as it will interlink all its assets like fighter and transport aircraft, airborne early warning control platforms, drones and ground radar stations, aiding with establishing a centralised network. Additionally, it will boost IAF’s drone operations by helping them upgrade from existing ground control stations to satellite control of military UAVs.

“It will be a major booster and force multiplier for the Indian Air Force. When we talk of a network-centric warfare, such type of systems will help achieve full network centricity. From that perspective, it’s a major value addition to the IAF,” said Ajay Lele, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

Way Forward

GSAT 7A is ISRO’s second mission dedicated to the military communication. It had launched GSAT 7 in the year 2013 for a communication in the navy named Rukmini, which helped the Indian navy to monitor the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and providing real-time inputs to warships, submarines and marine planes. It not only helped the Navy keep an eye on both Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal but also helped to increase the communication and surveillance capabilities from Persian Gulf to Malacca Strait.

The launch of the satellite comes at a time when the Ministry of Defence declared its plan to set up a special Defence Space Agency — an integrated tri-services unit that will use all Indian space assets for the benefit of the armed forces. This satellite, along with GSAT 7 and GSAT 6, will form the band of communication satellites.

With this mission of GSAT 7A, ISRO has successfully completed 17 missions this year, and launched its 39th communication satellite. It is its third successful mission since the last 35 days. ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said, “This year, we completed 17 missions. It is a very good number. The gift is… next year, we are going to have around 32 missions.”

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