EMISAT detects electronic signals on ground, especially hidden enemy radars. India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C45, carrying Electromagnetic Spectrum Measurement satellite 'EMISAT' and 28 other satellites, lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, April 1, 2019

NEW DELHI: The latest satellite launch by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will enhance India's surgical warfare capacity. Developed by Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), electronic intelligence satellite EMISAT has been placed in orbit by PSLV-C45 today.

EMISAT detects electronic signals on ground, especially hidden enemy radars. This capacity will help India in surgical warfare which is supposed to have become a permanent option for India to check Pakistan-sponsored terrorism after Balakot surgical strike.

EMISAT has been developed under DRDO's Project Kautilya which aims to boost India's space surveillance capacity. The project is named after the ancient Indian economist who emphasised the importance of spying for a king to protect his kingdom. EMISAT is modelled after an Israeli spy satellite called SARAL (Satellite with ARgos and ALtika), according to a report. The main capability of EMISAT is in signal intelligence — intercepting signals broadcast by communication systems, radars, and other electronic systems on the ground from hundred of kilometres away in space. The Ka-band frequency that EMISAT is sensitive to allows it to scan through ice, rain, coastal zones, land masses, forests and wave heights relatively easily, says the report.

For about eight years in the making, EMISAT can be a valuable tool for India to carry out stealth air operations in enemy territory since the satellite can detect enemy radars. It can help Indian Air Force carry out operations similar to the Balakot surgical strikes with greater confidence.

It is said the Army used images from the CARTOSAT series to plan the surgical strikes on terror launchpads in POK in 2016. Out of the total 47 operational satellites, India currently has six to eight satellites which are used entirely for military purposes. There are four CARTOSAT-2 series satellites (2C, 2D, 2E, 2F) and GSAT-29 satellite besides Besides Risat-2. ISRO launched a defence imaging satellite, Microsat R, for DRDO in January this year. This satellite can capture images at night.

Besides dedicated military satellites, ISRO has also launched communication satellites GSAT-7 and Gsat-7a for navy and air force. GSAT-7A, launched last November, boosted drone operations as it is helping the IAF upgrade from existing ground control stations to satellite-control of military UAVs. There are some satellites which have dual use. For example HysIS (hyper-spectral imaging satellite), which was launched in last November, can see through soil up to a few centimetres and detect landmines and IEDs. However, it is also used for a range of civil applications like in agriculture and forestry.