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China's demonstration of physically moving disabled satellite to another orbit new threat: IAF chief

NEW DELHI (PTI):  China's latest demonstration of physically moving its disabled satellite to another orbit poses a new threat in the race to weaponise the space domain, Indian Air Force Chief V R Chaudhari has said.

Moreover, he said no single service -- air force, army or navy -- can win wars on its own and this holds good even for the future.

Last month, China's Shijian-21 satellite physically moved a disabled Chinese satellite, altering its geostationary orbit. This capability of physically altering the orbits of a satellite has earlier been demonstrated by the US only.

"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," Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said on Thursday.

"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," he added.

He said the IAF's training philosophy needs to be modern, flexible and adaptive, with a heavy dose of "jointness".

A well-trained air warrior -- who is technologically sound yet able to adapt to disruptions -- would serve as a force multiplier, the IAF chief mentioned.

"The next step would be to use our doctrines and well-trained manpower to evolve employment philosophies and CONOPS (Concept of Operations)," he noted

This would require joint planning and joint execution of plans, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari stressed.

"No single service can win wars on its own and this holds good even for the future. This brings me to the next challenge of command and control," he said.

The primacy of who will do what cannot be determined by a pro-rata system of who has a larger mass of forces or equipment, the IAF chief mentioned.

"The thought process must change and it would be important to appreciate the capabilities of each service to make two plus two equal to five."

He stressed the need to develop joint command and control structures for integrated and synergised application of combat power.

"The fundamental strengths of individual services must be brought together to deter potential enemies or decisively win the nation's wars. There is a need to wage tomorrow's wars with pragmatism and not necessarily idealism," Chaudhari noted.

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