January 07, 2010

India preparing weapon system to neutralise enemy satellites: Saraswat

Last Updated: Jan 03, 2010



THIRUVANANTHAPURAM (PTI): Indian defence scientists are readying a weapon system to neutralise enemy satellites operating in low-earth orbit, a top defence scientist said here Sunday.

"India is putting together building blocks of technology that could be used to neutralise enemy satellites," Defence Research and Development Organisation Director General V K Saraswat told reporters on the sidelines of the 97th Indian Science Congress.

However, he added that the defence scientists have not planned any tests but have started planning such technology which could be used to leapfrog to build a weapon in case the country needed it.

Saraswat, who is also the Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister, said the scientists were planning to build the weapon which would have the capacity to hit and destroy satellites in low-earth orbit and polar orbit.

Usually, satellites in such orbits are used for network centric warfare and neutralising such spacecraft would deny enemy access to its space assets.

"We are working to ensure space security and protect our satellites.

At the same time we are also working on how to deny the enemy access to its space assets," he said.

To achieve such capabilities, a kill vehicle needs to be developed and that process is being carried out under the Ballistic Missile Defence programme.

"Basically, these are deterrence technologies and quite certainly many of these technologies will not be used.

I hope they are not used," Saraswat said.

In January 2007, China had demonstrated its capability to destroy satellites by conducting an anti-satellite test.

It had launched a missile that blew to smithereens an ageing weather satellite Fengyun 1C orbiting at a distance of 500 miles away from the earth.

Saraswat said the DRDO is building an advanced version of its interceptor missile with a range of 120-140 km.

The missile interceptor is expected to be test fired in September.

Space security is going to be a major issue in the future and India should not be left behind in this area, the defence scientist said.

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