The Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the procurement of a communications satellite system for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The acquisition of the GSAT-7C satellite and its associated ground hubs is budgeted at Rs22.36bn ($300.07m). The capital acquisition proposal was given an acceptance of necessity (AoN). The GSAT-7C communication satellite system will facilitate real-time connectivity of the IAF’s software-defined radios (SDRs). The Defence Acquisition Council is the Indian Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) highest decision-making body on procurement.
GSAT-7, the multi-band communication satellite named Rukmini carries the payloads in UHF, C band and Ku band. It is the first dedicated military communication satellite (unlike earlier dual use satellites) built by ISRO that will provide services to the Indian Armed Forces with the main user being the Indian Navy. The multiple-band spacecraft will be used exclusively by the Navy to shore up secure, real-time communications among its warships, submarines, aircraft and land systems. GSAT-7/ INSAT-4F is said to significantly improve the country’s naval operations around the world.
GSAT 7 satellite carrying payloads operating in UHF, S, C and Ku bands, had a lift-off mass of 2,650 kilograms (5,840 lb) and is based on ISRO’s 2,000 kilograms (4,400 lb) class satellite bus I-2K with some new technological elements, including the antennae. After a flight of almost 34 minutes, the satellite was injected into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) of 249-kilometre (155 mi) perigee, 35,929-kilometre (22,325 mi) apogee and an inclination of 3.5 degree with respect to the equator.
ISRO launched a second satellite, GSAT-7A for Indian Air Force on 19 December 2018 on its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F11). The satellite lifted off from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. It is the 39th Indian communication satellite launched by GSLV.The GSAT-7C satellite and ground hubs will soon be inducted into service with the Indian Air Force. The project involves complete design, development and launching of the satellite in India, and supports the country’s ‘Make in India’ initiative introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.