On April 1, 2019, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) successfully launched EMISAT (Electronic Intelligence Satellite) along with 29 other commercial satellites with the help of PSLV-C45 from Sriharikota’s Satish Dhawan Space Center. It is the first of its kind mission because with the help of a single satellite launch mission ISRO will put the satellites in three different orbits.
With this successful launch, ISRO can carry out orbital experiments including the ones on maritime satellite applications. EMISAT is essentially an intelligence satellite that will measure electromagnetic spectrum, on one hand, and on the other, read the location of ground/naval radar emitters.
What is EMISAT?
EMISAT is an extremely powerful electronic intelligence/surveillance satellite that has been jointly developed by ISRO and DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization). It weighs 436 kg and will intercept high-resolution from space on the ground as well as for the Indian Navy.
EMISAT has been developed under the Project Kautilya, involving Space Borne ELINT System. The ELINT satellite is based on IMS2 Bus (Indian Mini Satellite Bus series) that includes Electronic Intelligence payload development to integrate indigenous mini-satellite.
The ELINT system helps in recording and analyzing the intercepted signals. It, in turn helps in creating radar’s RF signature, which will come handy in locating and identifying the radar during subsequent encounters. EMISAT can have a maximum payload of 200 kgs.
EMISAT was developed under Project Kautilya of DRDO. The concerned project is named after an ancient Indian political strategist and economist named Kautilya, who emphasized on the need of spying to protect one’s own kingdom.
ISRO will place this satellite in a high elliptical orbit for optimizing the dwell time. This will provide the intelligence satellite enough time to pick up signals from a specific location (under observation) on ground or sea and record it.
How can EMISAT Secure India?
EMISAT electronic intelligence satellite helps in detecting hidden enemy radars through detection of electronic signals. Reports say this new capability will enable Indian defense services to carry out precision surgical strike/warfare.
It took Indian scientists 8 years to make this valuable satellite, which can be used by Indian armed forces to detect enemy radars and consequently carry out stealth air operations. With precise coordinate information, the Indian Airforce can carry out Balakot surgical strike type operations with greater confidence and precision.
EMISAT’s signal intelligence capability can intercept signals that are broadcast by radars, communication systems, other electronic systems on the ground. The Ka-band frequency allows the Indian spy satellite to scan through forests, land masses, coastal zones, ice, rain, and wave heights easily.
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has said in an official statement that EMISAT will help in strengthening borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh. The statement also said that “Major recommendations of the report are to build capacity in border guarding forces to use space resources for security, operational planning and border infrastructure development.” The project will be implemented in a time-bound manner in 3 terms:
- Short Term: High resolution imagery procurement and bandwidth hiring for communications.
- Medium Term: ISRO will launch a satellite that will be used exclusively by the Home Ministry.
- Long Term: Ground segment and network infrastructure will be developed by the MHA for sharing satellite resources by user agencies. A central archival facility will also be created for storing various imagery resources and then disseminating them to different user agencies. Border Security Force (BSF) is leading this project.
The Home Ministry has also said that EMISAT electronic intelligence satellite will help the armed forces to deploy CRPF (Central Armed Police Forces) Jawans in remote areas safely and securely. The navigation facilities for operational parties will be provided by Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System-based GPS facility. Therefore, no untoward incident will ever take place again while deploying armed forces in difficult borders, and Maoist-infested/difficult/remote/high-altitude areas. That’s how EMISAT will help secure Indian security.