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China weaponising space domain is bringing newer threats, says Indian Air Force Chief

Space-based assets could become essential for the conduct of operations in a networked scenario in the future as recent moves by China have weaponised the space domain, Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari said on Thursday

Feb 24, 2022
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Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari

Space-based assets could become essential for the conduct of operations in a networked scenario in the future as recent moves by China have weaponised the space domain, Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari said on Thursday. He said terrestrial, space and aerial domains were losing their “individual identities” and the spectrum extended from small drones to hypersonic ballistic missiles.

Speaking at the Jumbo Majumdar International Seminar about the Future Challenges of Aerospace Power, Chaudhari said, “China’s latest demonstration of physically moving one of its disabled satellites into the graveyard orbit is bringing in newer threats in the race to weaponise the space domain, a domain hitherto considered relatively safe.”

“The spectrum that we are looking at stretches from kinetic to non-kinetic, lethal to non-lethal and from small drones to hypersonic ballistic missiles. This vast and ever-changing continuum will pose significant challenges for the armed forces of the future,” Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari was quoted as saying by NDTV as the China threat perception dominates the Indian strategic consciousness, with both military and diplomatic leaders highlighting China's muscle-flexing and aggressive intent in frequent public statements.

He said hypersonic missiles, which China tested last year, are “launched from the surface of the earth, flies through the atmosphere into space and returns to a target on the earth with velocities far higher than any land and aerial platform. Similarly, as space-based assets become hubs for controlling terrestrial, underwater and aerial combat, they would also become centres of gravity which an adversary would like to target.”

Drones and miniature aerial vehicles and their proliferation “will pose a significant challenge for conventional air space control” and in the future, he said, “there would be teaming of manned and unmanned combat systems.”

“Aerospace power continues to evolve and mutate, primarily fuelled by induction of new technology, the emergence of new threats and evolution of new paradigms for warfighting,” he said. 

(SAM)

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