In a significant move to enhance secure satellite-based communications for troops operating along the Line of Actual Control with China and Special Forces engaged in surgical operations, the Indian Army is rapidly acquiring advanced hand-held and lightweight suitcase-based Satcom sets. A recent contract for over 160 “cutting-edge mobile secure satellite terminals (MSSTs)” was signed with defence PSU Bharat Electronics (BEL), adding to a series of contracts awarded in recent months.

These contracts encompass various types of Satcom terminals, including man-portable Ku-band satellite terminals, S-band hand-held terminals, S-band manpack terminals, and light vehicle-based Ku-band satellite communication terminals, among others. The new secure portable terminals, developed by DRDO and BEL, offer resilient military communication support to troops in remote and challenging terrains. They are expected to significantly improve communication for Para-Special Forces during rapid small-team surgical operations.

The previous generation of Satcom sets used by the Army had become obsolete, hampering effective communication for troops deployed along the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control. The new MSSTs are secure and cannot be intercepted, addressing these communication challenges.

These advancements align with the military’s efforts to enhance capabilities for digitized battlefields of the future. While the Indian armed forces rely on civilian satellites launched by ISRO, they also have dedicated military satellites. Additionally, the approval of projects like the GSAT-7B satellite for the Army signifies a commitment to strengthening satellite-based communication infrastructure.

The GSAT-7B satellite project is expected to be operational by 2025-26, further bolstering the Indian armed forces’ communication capabilities in the evolving landscape of modern warfare.