The satellite is expected to give a big boost to the country’s maritime security and intelligence gathering in a wide swathe of the Indian Ocean region.
Built to the Navy’s multiple-band requirements as platform to safely link up its ships, submarines, aircraft and command from land in real time, it is ISRO’s latest communication satellite.
Until now the defence forces have used minuscule capacities on ISRO’s various INSAT/GSAT satellites.
It will be doubly empowered when its sibling, GSAT-7A, follows it in 2014-15 at the earliest; it is said to share some of the GSAT-7A resources with the Air Force and the Army.
For the Navy, this is part of a long-term modernisation plan involving the use of satellites and information technology.
In recent years successive Chiefs of Naval Staff have identified space-based communications as the core of the Navy’s futuristic network-centric operations.
To be placed over 74 degrees East longitude in the coming days, the 2,650-kg satellite is designed to enable communication in four frequency bands ranging from the lower UHF (ultra high frequency) to the higher Ku bands, along with the rare S band and the commonly used C band.
It provides a decent slice of 15 mHz of the premium S-band for MSS (mobile satellite services); the S-band is now the preserve of the military and strategic State users including All India Radio.
The UHF has never been used until now in an Indian communication satellite; this gives the user (Navy) a long sweep of intelligence network, or what it calls COMINT/ELINT, on moving non-land platforms like ships.
The Ku band allows high-density data transmission, including voice and video. A special ground infrastructure has also been put in place for GSAT-7.