India plans to launch a series of indigenously built military satellites with surveillance, imaging and navigation capabilities to keep a watch on its neighbourhood and help guide cruise missiles, a top defence scientist said today.
"There will be a series of (defence) satellites. I cannot give you the numbers because they are classified," V K Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, said here.
"Each year, you will find one or two satellites going up," added the Secretary, Defence R & D and Director General of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Mostly, these satellites are dedicated to different defence applications and would have payloads which are for surveillance, imaging, navigation and communication.
"You should be able to see with very high resolution and precision the movements of troops and things like that (in the neighbourhood)," Saraswat said. "You should be able to see what are the new buildings and new facilities which have come up".
India would be able to send data and commands through these satellites to cruise missiles. "So it will have tremendous applications", he said.
These defence satellites would be indigenously built and launched from home soil only given the "security sensitivity", Saraswat stressed.
"The Army, Navy and Air Force each have their own requirement and it won't be appropriate to say how many each of them would need, due to security considerations," Saraswat said.
India has taken up development and launch of these defence satellites under its space-based surveillance programme, which has a road-map for setting up satellites for all applications for the Army, Navy and Air Force, he said.
"Now, this road-map has been given to the Department of Space and it is making its own schedule for launching these satellites. We have only one Department of Space and we have huge requirements...," he said.
Saraswat said India has already launched some satellites under this programme.