On February 7, 2024, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of India, Lieutenant General Anil Chauhan announced that the Indian armed forces have allocated funds amounting to Rs 25,000 crores to fulfil its defence space needs including the development of a constellation of surveillance satellites and the establishment of secure communication networks.
Addressing the DefSat Conference and Expos organised by SIA-India, General Chauhan urged India’s private sector (space sector) to utilise this opportunity to make the country self-reliant in the emerging dual sector. The inaugural ceremony was attended by Australian High Commissioner to India, Phillip Green. National Institute of Advanced Studies Director Shailesh Nayak and senior officers from the Indian armed forces.
“To execute our future requirements, if I make a rough estimate, our outlay in the coming few years would be more than Rs 25,000 crores. It is the right time for the private industry to utilise this opportunity,” he said.
General Chauhan listed out the requirements of the Indian armed forces, urging the industry to partner in augmenting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities by developing multi-sensor satellites, launch on demand services and a robust network of ground stations. He also stressed the need to develop indigenous positioning, navigation and timing services by strengthening NAVIC constellation.
“Indian armed forces cannot remain dependent on foreign constellations for its PNT requirements. PNT services for navigation, synchronisation as well as long range engagements will require a secure, reliable and resilient NAVIC constellation,” he said.
This period may be an Amritkaal for the private space industry. I think it is time to build a highly capable Atmanirbhar Defence Ecosystem,” General Chauhan said. He said high speed, secure, satellite assisted communication was another area of growth.
“Investment towards satellite internet openings, satellite enabling the 5G ecosystem, high thorough put satellites and the LEO (Low Earth Orbit) Satellites need to be undertaken to provide a reliant and resilient coverage,” General Chauhan said. He also said that launch capabilities being the basic building blocks, investment should also be on launch-on-demand capabilities in the near future.