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Lack of military-civil fusion framework barrier to space tech innovation: IAF Vice Chief

Air Force Vice Chief Air Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari highlighted that the Air Force is looking to expand its footprint in space exploration and would like to “fully integrate air and space capabilities” so that there is a common operating picture for aerospace.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
September 8, 2021 7:53:13 am
Lack of military-civil fusion framework barrier to space tech innovation: IAF Vice ChiefThe Vice Chief also lamented that India lacks indigenous capability to observe, track and identify non-cooperative objects in outer space. (Express File/Representative Image)

Ruing the lack of cooperation between military and civil framework for space technology, Vice Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari, said that space is becoming a playground for the best scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to continue evolving and breaking new grounds.

He also highlighted that the Air Force is looking to expand its footprint in space exploration and would like to “fully integrate air and space capabilities” so that there is a common operating picture for aerospace.

Speaking at a symposium on Space Technologies for National Defence, organised by industry chamber FICCI, the Air Marshal said that in the absence of an independent military space programme, the military has been dependent on the civilian space programme of ISRO. He said that there is a lack of a robust “military-civil fusion” framework, which is a hindrance in innovating future space technologies. “There is a need for a concerted focus on this regard,” he said.

The IAF, he said, “is aiming to expand its footprint in space exploration in partnership with ISRO” and added that the Kargil war “served as a trigger for having additional satellites towards enhancing our operations”. “In recent times, increased focus on military space application has been one of the accelerating key factors,” he said.

“The ability to use aircraft as launch platforms may well be the future. Space tech capabilities have become crucial component for our military operations. Our strategy is to fully integrate air and space capabilities to have a common operating picture in the aerospace medium. We also need to acknowledge that there is a lot of scope for capability development in the realm of military satellite applications.”

Another key focus area, he said, should be supplementing the ground-based ballistic missile architecture by creating space-based ballistic missile defence capabilities, he said. “It should enable early warning detection and destruction of ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) along with location for launch pads and prediction of impact points.”

The Vice Chief also lamented that India lacks indigenous capability to observe, track and identify non-cooperative objects in outer space.

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