The Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon get its first dedicated communication satellite for networking its sensors and weapon platforms, which will help in upgrading its war-fighting capabilities.
"We are going to soon get a dedicated satellite for communications... Satellites are common to all three services but under network centric issues, they are primarily for addressing communications," assistant chief of air staff air vice marshal M Matheswaran said in New Delhi.
He was responding to queries about plans to get a dedicated satellite for communications to achieve network centricity in the IAF.
As per the defence ministry's plans, the first dedicated military satellite would be launched by the middle of this year and would be followed by one satellite each every year till the end of the decade, sources said.
Commenting on IAF's plans to network its sensors and weapon platforms, Matheswaran said the IAF would continue to network its assets for the next five to seven years to be a fully network-enabled force.
He added that network centricity improves the awareness of pilots and battlefield commanders about the scenario during war time and would help in "getting better utility from same amount of resources by networking all the resources."
The senior officer said to facilitate the use of the emerging capabilities, the IAF would need to upgrade the fighter aircraft and helicopters which would be in service for another 30-40 years.
This would include the air superiority Su-30 MKIs, Mirage-2000s, MiG 29s, the yet to be inducted 126 Multilrole Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) and the fifth generations fighter aircraft.
He said the IAF has already started working on networks such as the integrated air command and control system (IACCS) and the AFNET which will form the backbone of a network enabled IAF.
Asked to compare the developments in China and Pakistan towards achieving network centricity, he said India was "leapfrogging" to the latest technology in the world, which would give it "an advantage" over its adversaries in both east and the west.