Importance of Satellites in Maritime Domain

Topics: Satellite, Spacecraft, Remote sensing Pages: 22 (6805 words) Published: May 16, 2013

1.The launch of Sputnik satellite by USSR on 4th October 1957, was the start of space age. More than 4500 objects have been launched beyond the earth’s atmosphere in the 54 years and about 1100 are actively orbiting. This reflects the realities of the era where information dominance has become synonymous with power. Forces on land, sea and air, missile launches, detection of radars, direction of weapons after launch can be detected by satellites-spies in the sky. These satellites can provide information to navigate with accuracy, to communicate with certainty, to strike with precision and to see the battlefield with clarity. Presently, space has become an integral component of any military planning and satellites are used for force enhancement in form of surveillance, reconnaissance, communications, navigation, missile warning.

2.Due to emerging and diversified nature of maritime warfare, maritime operations conducted on, under, or over the sea are becoming technologically and operationally challenging day after day. Maritime security has become a hot issue of the world for the past two decades. Navies from all over the world are trying to find methods and apply strategies that will enforce passive or sometimes active measures, in order to ensure maritime safety in both territorial and international waters. Vigilance is a priority, especially when the sea lines of communication (SLOC) are the ways where our adversary and terrorists use in their own interests. In this complex maritime warfare, it is pivotal to continuously maintain recognized maritime picture (RMP) using all available resources.

3.The Indian Ocean has always been the hub of International power politics due to its strategic location, inherent rich natural resources and vital trade routes. We have witnessed that the Indian Ocean in general and Arabian Sea in particular has become the theatre for the power struggle in the 21st century. PN participation in Maritime Interdiction Operations, Counter Piracy deployment, and recent terrorist attacks on PN personnel and assets has further enhanced our reasonability to be more vigilant and maintain a maritime situational awareness in the Area of Responsibility (AOR). To maintain maritime situational awareness in maritime warfare, satellite technology is being used effectively by various countries of the world including India for civilian and military purposes.


Space is a domain, like air, land and sea and it has become a critical part in every other battlefield. The experiments have begun in the space domain due to the fact that space is by far the most efficient area to apply new technologies that need to be shared worldwide through operation centers. The quest for dominance of ultimate high group, the space, is no more restricted to global powers. In strategic terms, it is now equally relevant to regional players. Freedom to access space or space based system is analogous to freedom at sea. If a country cannot dominate space, its naval-based systems will have little relevance in defending its territorial integrity and freedom. Space programmes can be used for both civilian and military purposes. Orbital imagers and communications satellites are prime examples of dual-use technologies. Present day satellites are capable of providing resolution of less than 10 cm i.e. the satellites are able to differentiate between the objects which are 10 cm apart. Satellites serve as a tool for acquiring vital information in diverse fields of interest like communications, weather forecasting, television broadcasting, navigation, reconnaissance and for searching new resources on earth. Satellites are also extensively used to detect and record radio and radar transmissions while over foreign territory enabling location of missile defence radar systems and deduction of their performance/characteristics. It is prudent to mention that there are at least four types of satellites...
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