The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has okayed a programme for indigenous development of satellite communication (SATCOM) terminals that are housed on warships, submarines and naval planes.

The SATCOM terminals connect the Navy’s sea-going platforms with the naval satellite, GSAT-7 (Rukmini), which is connected to ground stations and relays the real-time information and data. Originally sourced from Israel, the SATCOMs are being maintained by Bharat Electronics Limited, a public sector undertaking.

Most of these SATCOMs are now more than 10-12 years old, hence the field units have reported problems pertaining to product support and slowness in data transfer.

The Navy is looking at SATCOM terminals that have C-band and Ku-band compatibility with greater speeds of data and communication.

The MoD has granted in principle approval to manufacture these in India under the ‘Make-II’ category of the Defence Acquisition Procedure. ‘Make—II’ implies the industry will fund the development of the project, including prototype for which no government funding will be provided.

Once a product is okayed for testing, the Navy will examine it to see if it withstands humidity and vagaries of the sea. It will be followed by material testing that will include checking downlink and uplink speeds.

Weighing nearly 2,650 kg, the GSAT-7 satellite was launched in August 2013 for the exclusive use of the Navy and it provides seamless communication with its 3,500-km wide footprint across the Indian Ocean.

It was the first military communication satellite developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation for the defence forces. It has allowed the Navy to monitor the sea better.

Connect Ships To Ground Stations

The SATCOM terminals connect Navy ships with the naval satellite GSAT-7
The satellite relays the real-time information and data to ground stations
The SATCOMs were originally sourced from Israel