New Delhi: The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal V.R. Choudhary has described space as the “ultimate high ground”, and called for development of offensive and defensive capabilities, saying the next war could spread to all domains of land, sea, air, cyber and space. Speaking on aerospace capabilities and technical requirements, he said the air force has to become an “aerospace force” to protect the country from new and evolving threats.
“The race to weaponise space has already started and the day is not far when our next war would spread across all domains of land, sea, air, cyber and space. Therefore, I feel there is a need to develop both offensive and defensive space capabilities to safeguard our assets,” the air force chief said at the Def-Tech India seminar.
The Air Chief said that with increased private sector involvement, there has been a drastic cut in costs of developing and launching spacecraft, leading to a “democratisation of space” that needs to be catered for. “We need to capitalise on our initial successes in space and prepare ourselves for the future,” he said.
India is one of the few nations that has conducted an anti – satellite test and uses satellites for a variety of military missions—from communications to surveillance. Work is also ongoing to develop technology to knock out enemy satellites using non kinetic options. The air chief referred to Indian private companies like Pixxel that is developing nano satellites to make the point that indigenous technologies will offer affordable access to space for a range of applications.
“We must be cognitive of the technology to be within the contours of national policy, security and objectives,” he cautioned.
On other required capabilities in the next 25 years, he said that directed energy weapons and hypersonic weapons have been tested and employed by other nations, and the Indian industry needs to further develop the technologies and integrate them onboard airborne platforms.