Source : Indian Defence Analysis
4 years of Mission Shakti; How India is preparing to both destroy enemy satellites and deploys its own at emergency basis with Project Veda
On March 27th, India conducted its maiden successful attempt at shooting a satellite in lower earth orbit (LEO). In doing so, India has become the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to acquire the capability of space warfare. All the futuristic warfare is going to be driven by Technology and space is going to be the 4th dimension of the warfare.
In Russia-Ukraine conflict we have seen how US Starlink network has helped Ukrainian forces to locate the Russian military assets and target them. The world has already witnessed various types of drones & UAVs such as loitering munitions, swarm drones, attack drones & ISR drones, which are changing the warfare dynamics.
Most of these drones are guided by satellite communication. Infact, not only drones but fighter jets & missiles almost every defence communication relies on satellite communication. So, what if these satellites are destroyed by using Anti-satellite missiles already developed by China. The military will be literally blind and most of the military hardware will be merely a sitting duck.
China has already developed the Anti-satellite missiles however, never publicly acknowledged. Back in February 2018, China tested an exo-atmospheric ballistic missile with the potential to be used as an ASAT weapon, the Dong Neng-3, with state media reporting that the test was purely defensive.
So, let’s consider a hypothetical worst-case scenario where Indian satellites are destroyed by its adversaries. What’s the Plan-B?
VEDA to rescue !
This is where the DRDO’s project VEDA comes into play. Its primarily a road mobile military satellite launch vehicle which is likely going to be canister based, however it’s not just a launch vehicle but much more than that regarding which we will be discussing.
VEDA will enable India to launch satellite on-demand within very short span of time – some report suggests it can be ready to launch satellites within 72 hours. These are going to be military satellites deployed for a designated role or mission. Veda also has the capability of launching constellation or Swarm of satellites in the lower earth orbit. In situations where, India loses its military satellites, it can be easily replenished within short span of time using Veda. There is also a possibility of a Nano-satellite ejection System which can be Incorporated in the Payload of Veda in a Clustered Configuration. These nanosatellites could be deployed to monitor over a conflict zone for intelligence gathering in short notice.
Veda can also be used for offensive mission which can take kamikaze mission of destroying the enemy’s satellite. The Veda has the capability to Inject killer nano satellites into Precise orbits for head-on collision to take out hostile satellites.
So, basically Veda is going to be one rocket which can perform multiple roles such as interceptor, Anti Satellite missions, & military satellite launcher. This is why its going to be ultimate weapon of DRDO.
The development of VEDA is happening with lot of secrecy. In August 2022, DRDO’s Advanced Systems Laboratory has released a tender for the VEDA Defence Satellite Launch Vehicle. The tender is for procurement of 9L of titanium tank. The manufacturing of VEDA satellite launcher subassemblies has also commenced. There is no official confirmation on the timeline of VEDA.