Skylight: Army tests satcom assets

With China having developed weapons for space, cyberspace and electronic warfare, the Army has conducted a major pan-India drill, codenamed ‘Skylight’, to test the readiness and robustness of its high-tech satellite communication systems to thwart attacks.

The Army activated all its satellite communication assets from Ladakh to Andaman and Nicobar Islands during the exercise from July 25-29, with various technical and operational scenarios being war gamed, including disruption or destruction of terrestrial connectivity in a conflict, defence establishment sources said on Friday.

“Isro and various agencies responsible for space and ground segments also participated. The northern borders [with China] are our primary area of concern because of the challenges of topography there,” a source said.

The Army is working on several fronts to “leverage space for supporting multidomain operations”, which includes a number of its satellite communication networks operational for “beyond line-of-sight tactical communication” with remote areas.

The use of cyber and electromagnetic warfare as well as communications during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war are also being studied and analysed in detail.

The Army currently uses several Isro satellites, which connect hundreds of static communication terminals, transportable vehicle-mounted terminals, man-portable and small form factor manpack terminals.

It is seeking the help of academia, private industry and others to narrow the gap in several “niche and disruptive technologies”.

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