Weaponisation of space inevitable reality

IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari on Wednesday said as nations increasingly rely on space-based assets for building strategic advantage, “militarisation and weaponisation” of space have become the “inevitable reality”. He said this in his address at a seminar on “Aerospace Power in Future Conflicts” at Subroto Park here.

“Through the annals of human history, the skies have often been regarded as realms of wonder and exploration, where dreams take flight and boundaries dissolve into the vast blue expanse,” he said.

Yet, beneath this calmness lies a domain “fraught with competition where contest for aerial superiority” has shaped the destiny of many nations and decided the outcome of many wars, the chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF) said.

“As we navigate these uncharted skies, air power being a key component of national power, would undoubtedly play a pivotal role and also serve as a symbol of national strength, a tool for peace and cooperation,” he said.

Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said over the last few decades, understanding of the military operational environment has “significantly transformed” from primarily a force, time and space-driven battlefield to an arrangement of systems capable of simultaneous and independent operations across multiple domains.

“We all need to acknowledge that the wars of the future will be fought differently,” he said.

Future conflicts will be characterised by a blend of simultaneous application of kinetic and non-kinetic forces, high-levels of battle space transparency, multi-domain operations, a high-degree of precision, enhanced lethality, a compressed sensor-to-shooter cycle, and of course, all under intense media scrutiny, he also said.

In his address on Wednesday, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari added that space has also emerged as a “critical domain for conduct of military operations“, wherein seamless communication, navigation and surveillance capabilities would enhance survivability of modern military forces.

“As nations increasingly rely on space-based assets for building strategic advantage, militarisation and weaponisation of space has become an inevitable reality,” he said.

Air and space control along with denial capabilities “will prove to be decisive” for furtherance of all operations. For that to happen, “we would need to gain and maintain not only information superiority but also decision superiority”, he said.

“Emerging technologies like CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) sensors, smart decision support matrices, manned-unmanned teaming and robust and redundant C2 networks are critical capabilities that need to be developed,” the IAF chief added.

Harry Byrne

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