What is Anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) that India has recently developed? How is it going to help India?6b
Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) are space weapons designed to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purposes.
While it has been suggested that a country intercepting the satellites of another country in a conflict or war, it could seriously hinder the other country’s military operations.
ASAT system has not yet been utilised in any war. However, few nations have shot down their own (defunct) satellites to demonstrate capabilities of ASAT weapons.
There are only four countries till now who have this capability. These are USA, Russia, China and India. Israel is said to be also developing such capability.
How will it benefit India?
In a war like situation, India can hit down satellites of enemy nation and jeopardise their military operations. This include stopping other nation from reconnaissance & surveillance, signals intelligence, communications and navigation by destroying their satellites in space.
Surveillance satellites are equipped with infrared telescopes that scan the ground through camouflage for the heat produced by a missile’s exhaust. These can be used to warn of missile attack and can predict the targets of missiles that are fired hundreds or thousands of kilometres away.
Signals intelligence satellites can operate either in low Earth orbit or in extremely high, in a geosynchronous orbit, where they appear to stay at one spot in the sky. These satellites have capabilities to pick up selective communications from cellular telephones, walkie-talkies, microwave transmissions, radios, and radar (they do not collect every conversation around the world).
Communications satellites are used to communicate with ships at sea or with troops on the ground and submarines equipped with small dish antennas. They relay reconnaissance pictures to ground stations or to troops in the field.
Destroying such satellites (using ASAT) would be highly damaging to the enemy.
On having this ASAT capability, India would now be taken more seriously. This is because a possible conflict with India may make the other country more susceptible.