Indian Army bolsters comms with cutting-edge technology | India News – Times of India
NEW DELHI: In a major move to provide secure satellite-based communications to troops out on long-range patrols along the Line of Actual Control with China as well as Special Forces deployed for “surgical operations”, the Army is now fast acquiring different types of advanced hand-held and lightweight suitcase-based Satcom sets.
The Army on Monday inked a deal for over 160 “cutting-edge mobile secure satellite terminals (MSSTs)” with defence PSU Bharat Electronics (BEL), which is the latest in the series of such contracts sealed in recent months, defence ministry sources told TOI.
The contracts inked earlier include ones for over 150 man-portable Ku-band satellite terminals, around 400 S-band hand-held terminals, over 300 S-band manpack terminals and over 80 light vehicle-based Ku-band satellite communication terminals, among others.
“These secure portable terminals, by DRDO and BEL, will be a significant force-multiplier as they offer unparalleled resilient military communication support to troops deployed in remote far-flung areas,” a defence ministry source said.
“They will also augment communications for Para-Special Forces while being employed for rapid small-team surgical operations. It’s an important step towards leveraging capabilities of Indian SATCOM technologies and advances in the space domain for Army formations deployed in forward and harsh terrain conditions,” he added.
The older Satcom sets with the Army have become obsolete over the years, with troops on long-range patrols along the 3,488-km LAC often not able to effectively communicate with their operating bases and the military hierarchy.
“Such forward deployed troops have to depend on terrestrial radio and satellite phones, which are not secure and have poor connectivity. The new cutting-edge MSSTs, which cannot be intercepted, will plug this void,” said the source.
Overall, the forces are slowly but steadily enhancing their capabilities to fight in the increasingly digitised battlefields of the future. Though the armed forces depend a lot on civilian satellites launched by ISRO, they also have a few dedicated military satellites now.
Moreover, the defence ministry in March last year had also given the nod for the Rs 4,600 crore project for a GSAT-7B satellite for the Army, after earlier approving the Rs 2,236 crore project for the GSAT-7C satellite for the IAF in November 2021. “The advanced GSAT-7B satellite should be operational by 2025-26,” a source said.