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Militarization of Space

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Presentation on theme: "Militarization of Space"— Presentation transcript:

1 Militarization of Space
Some thoughts and Perspectives

2 Introduction Space - mysterious unknown, daunting yet alluring concept that has encouraged both exploration and investment. Technological advances led to increasing integration of outer space capabilities in security and war-fighting doctrines. Has changed the nature of warfare as well as security perceptions, signaling space as a new domain for competition and leveraging superiority

3 Introduction Far-reaching military, economic and political ramifications of on going transformation and contest not fully appreciated. Nor factored into future political strategies or security doctrines. US Space Vision 2020, attempts for a space-based interceptor test-bed as part of its national missile defence, the Chinese anti- satellite (ASAT) and its BMD indicative of incipient space race.

4 Why Space is the New Frontier?
Developing capabilities to dominate the adversary is behind quest for space dominance as in other domains. Militarization not a new phenomenon. Almost all space- based military missions have been exercised during the first decade of the space age, i.e. space support (the launching and managing of on-orbit satellites), space force enhancement (includes all space operations at enhancing terrestrial military operations), space control (access and denial of space) and space force application (delivery of ordinance from space, former USSR’s co-orbital bombardment system and US Global Strike Command). Weaponisation is next logical step in the endless struggle for mastering the ultimate high ground - with actual placement of weapons in space.

5 Militarization vs Weaponisation
Militarization of space means utilising space to support military operations. Implies developing and deploying assets in space for providing early warning, communications, command and control, position navigation and timing (PNT) and monitoring [remote sensing, and national technical means (NTM). Aimed at enhancing military command, control and communications, strategic and battlefield surveillance, and more importantly weapons targeting. Primary reason for militarization - Outer Space Treaty (OST) 1967, permits space free for exploration and use, except for placement of weapons in space. Term ‘peaceful purposes’ taken to mean non-aggressive or mil support functions. Encouraged by ASAT and BMD, the current discourse is now veering toward weaponisation of space in terms of ‘space control’ and ‘force application missions’.

6 Militarization Perspective
Despite no weapons being deployed space based assets form an important component of modern war fighting e.g. C4ISR, that includes SAR, optical reconnaissance, navigation and ELINT satellites linked to ground network. During Op Enduring Freedom US deployed 6,600 GPS guided munitions and 100,000 precision lightweight GPS receivers. Edifice of Chinese ASBM is based on SAR, reconnaissance and Ocean surveillance satellites as part of space-based “architecture” to facilitate ASBM mid-course and terminal guidance Similarly Chinese BMD system is totally dependent upon space components. Many of space systems are dual use difficult to classify?

7 Road to Weaponisation In the past half-century, no weapons have been used against space objects in a deep crisis or even in warfare. One reason for the restraint could be reliance on satellites ISR activities for keeping a check on each other’s conventional and strategic weapon deployments. The aspect of EW acted as a deterrence which to a large extent was responsible for preventing escalation during crisis situation. Will air sea doctrine change this? Increasing scope of space assets in the doctrinal thinking of major military powers has resulted in prospective opponents viewing space capabilities contributing to the opposing military as part of the forces arrayed against it in a theatre. It is in above context space capabilities seen as a critical components of opponents system, interference with which provides greater protection.

8 Road to Weaponisation Above has led to space capabilities including ground and space segments seen as vital to national interests of major powers. ASAT and BMD at the fore front of thinking on deployment of space based weapons for following reasons; Defending satellites and ensuring freedom of action to operate in space. — Denying adversaries ability to use space assets. — Intercepting ballistic missiles using space-based interceptors. — Attacking targets on the ground or in the air using space-based weapons. This is natural extension of militarization.

9 Weaponisation of space
To understand weaponisation of space consider continuum running from space systems for civil purposes to support for terrestrial military operations to satellites to weapons themselves - weaponisation occurs when the upper range of the spectrum is reached. In most extreme sense space weaponisation includes deployment of a full range of space weapons, including satellite-based systems for BMD, space based ASATs, and a variety of space-to-earth weapons(STEW), which play a central role in any type of military operations.

10 Weaponisation of space
Two subsets of weaponisation of space; Space Control Space force application Space Control/Denial Space control (or space dominance) involves protecting own on-orbit assets and those of friendly countries, attacking enemy assets, and denying access to space. The primary means of achieving this is either launch suppression, or destroying/degrading performance of enemy satellites. These actions can be defensive or offensive. Fundamental perspective of approach is technical feasibility and cost effectiveness.

11 Weaponisation of space
Space Force Application Space force application envisages attacking terrestrial targets from space-based weapons which would greatly reduce problems of attacking strategic targets deep inside enemy territory. In application satellites/space planes orbiting overhead, awaiting a signal to rain down weapons on the adversary. The “Rods from Gods” conceived in the US for attacking deep underground installations? Skeptics of weaponisation, more notably view the US drive as a move to assert its hegemony on the emerging players in the medium of space.

12 What is a Space Weapon ? There is no clear definition of a space weapon nor has there been a consensus on what should constitute a space weapon. The debate encompasses the problems of whether or not define the weapon based on its position i.e. on land, sea, air or in space, or based on its intended target. This leads to a possibility for space to space, space to earth, earth to space, and earth to earth (through space) weapon. Different technologies could be employed to destroy, disrupt or damage the intended targets. These include kinetic kill vehicles that destroy by impact (the Chinese ASAT) or “Rods from God”—fire tungsten rods from space to ground-based targets, DEW or KEW weapons etc.

13 What is a Space Weapon ? Further, the micro/nano/pico satellites being designed in a defensive role as bodyguard satellites or for close proximity operations with the host satellites also have a dual role. Can be used as space weapons: to destroy adversaries’ satellites through kinetic kill or disrupt the use of satellite by spraying paint on the solar panels, view finders, etc.

14 Indian Space Vision 2025 To enhance India’s over military and force application strategy to develop space based capability to ensure overall space control in area of interest. Aim is to shift onus of ISR and force application incrementally from ground based to increasingly space based sensors. Acknowledges exploitation of space as an imperative for Indian future force development strategy.

15 Indian Space Vision 2025 Space vision is predicated upon three possible scenarios; Status Quo Scenario. Essentially envisages an environment of managed asymmetry in balance of power. Deteriorating Regional Situation. This relates to emerging threat from China and its capacity at space domination- such a threat could become unmanaged asymmetry by 2020 – 25. Regional Aspiration Scenario. Alludes to shift from continental to maritime construct. Relates to developing space capabilities to meet aspirations of larger strategic regional role.

16 Indian Space Vision 2025 Includes a three tier roadmap aimed at developing capabilities for Space Asset Domination (SAD) to dominate specific areas at specific times to enhance ISR and precision engagement capabilities. Broad developmental phases as under; Phase 1 relates to creating “specific area and time capability” for space asset domination of existing areas of interest by deploying satellite and other assets that aim at providing near or near real time ISR. Broad issues to be addressed include; Launching of satellites to cover additional areas. Allow C4ISR and data fusion. Software package to disseminate imagery data in near real time. Deploying IRNSS

17 Indian Space Vision 2025 Phase 2 relates to development of sectoral capability i.e. real or near real time picture. Allowing real time ISR and precision engagements and PSDA over designated areas including IOR. Capabilities include; Near real time inputs. Capability to place minimum number of satellites during the warning period to cover specific area of interest. Upgradation of EW and ELINT capabilities Provide near real time surveillance on demand. Creation of satellite redundancy. Data fusion and creation of satellite command centre. Developing space domination assets.

18 Indian Space Vision 2025 Phase 3 can be termed as development and deployment of space assets to cover entire strategic space including IOR. Entails developing SAD of complete area to provide real time picture and credibly enhance air space management through data fusion and ability to exploit space assets on as required basis. This Phase will provide; Enhance the existing base of satellite coverage to provide real time information. Improve CEP. Sub metric resolution on demand of specific areas of interest. Chain of sky wave and surface wave OTH radars linked with satellites to enhance maritime domain awareness.

19 Indian Perspective on Weaponisation
For many in India, militarization and weaponisation are synonymous one can attribute present state of Indian militarization of space to this fact. At a international seminar Indian Defence Minister Parnab Mukherji stated “There is merit in asking for the creation of separate institutions to oversee the assets that take warfare into space...”. He underscored his remarks by mentioning “India will not go back on international commitments and weaponise space-based assets”. India is aware of probable escalation to weaponisation. Its technology demonstration programmes; Kinetic attack Loitering Interceptor (KALI), Directionally Unrestricted Ray-gun Array (DURGA), proto laser weapon technology among others signify this. The Chinese recent ASAT and BMD tests have further fueled debate on weaponisation of space.

20 Conclusion US space policy and plans of space-based interceptor test-bed; and the Chinese BMD and ASAT test have started an action- reaction process in the race to weaponisation of space. Intrinsically mankind has never been satisfied with status quo. The fear of military and/or economic domination could drive nations to compete aggressively for primacy in the ultimate high ground – space? Question is impact on warfare and repercussions. Thereby obviating need for space-based weapons.

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