India’s first military satellite which will be used for the Navy’s telecommunication needs will be launched this year. The satellite, GSAT-7 built by ISRO will be launched onboard the European Space Agency’s Ariane-5 launch vehicle from the Kourou Island, French Guiana.
According to the launch programme activity of the French commercial satellite launch company Arianespace, Ariane-5 launch is scheduled for May-June 2013. ISRO in its budget outcome report has said that GSAT-7 is expected to be launched with the same launch.
GSAT-7 is a multi-band satellite carrying payloads in UHF, S-band, C-band and Ku-band and weighs 2,330kg with a payload power of 2000W. Unlike the usual scenario, the satellite will be launched by an Arianespace launch vehicle and not by the Indian Space Agency’s Geo Synchronised Launch Vehicle (GSLV), due to the fact that the GSLV has suffered two back to back failures.
ISRO will first have to successfully test the GSLV before embarking on launching a satellite like the GSAT-7. Though ISRO does not acknowledge that the satellite is for military purpose, defence officials have said the GSAT-7 is indeed a military satellite and that it will also have a follow up satellite the GSAT-7A for the Indian Air Force.
The space agency has in the past also said that the Radar Imaging Satellite launched by the ISRO is not used for reconnaissance activities in the country’s border areas.