Opinion Weaponizing Space with DRDO & ISRO

Defc0n

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Sep 8, 2019
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India
India tested the ASAT system on March 27 - 2019. The aim being to destroy enemy satellite systems in the case of a war.

Given India's current space capabilities, why just stick to defensive weapons?

Why not have MIRVs loaded in a satellite and station them on a country - Spy Satellite on steroids!

Common rebuttal is, this will start a space war, others will do it to us as well. The same holds true for nukes and BMs and ICBMs. Those exist!

If such stuff exist, I feel countries will be more careful doing stupid stuff. A great weapon is that which prevents a war from happening.

However, if done right, there are a number of advantages -

1) Guaranteed Second Strike capabilities (Payload is nuclear) -
Enemy ASAT systems can take it out - sure, but if we have a bunch of satellites circling a country, distinguishing is difficult. One has to try and take out all of them which is not possible. Also, it can have the capability to defend itself against a strike (not totally impossible I feel).

2) Easily deployable precision fire power -
(Payload is non-nuclear)
Satellite imagery acts as a major source of intel, wouldn't it be super nice to have the capability to take a target out without firing missiles or sending jets and so on?
Example - Take the Balakote situation, that mission could have been undertaken with so much simplicity.

ISRO and DRDO can definitely collaborate and come up with such a system. So, why is not being done? I am curious about the reasons. Are they -

1) Prohibitive cost, and/or not worth the cost?

2) Maintenance/performance issues?

3) Political - May act as a provocation and start space arms race.

4) Absolute Sci-Fi level thought process and tech has not matured for such stuff, atleast in our country?

5) May be being discussed and developed in some dark DRDO room somewhere? 😅🤣

6) Security issues like malfunction which can cause a catastrophic situation? Again possible to prevent?


I was just thinking of this - might be extremely childish and stupid idea, but want to know the pros and cons and others see it.
 
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Parthu

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Dec 1, 2017
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India tested the ASAT system on March 27 - 2019. The aim being to destroy enemy satellite systems in the case of a war.

Given India's current space capabilities, why just stick to defensive weapons?

Why not have MIRVs loaded in a satellite and station them on a country - Spy Satellite on steroids!

Common rebuttal is, this will start a space war, others will do it to us as well. The same holds true for nukes and BMs and ICBMs. Those exist!

If such stuff exist, I feel countries will be more careful doing stupid stuff. A great weapon is that which prevents a war from happening.

However, if done right, there are a number of advantages -

1) Guaranteed Second Strike capabilities (Payload is nuclear) -
Enemy ASAT systems can take it out - sure, but if we have a bunch of satellites circling a country, distinguishing is difficult. One has to try and take out all of them which is not possible. Also, it can have the capability to defend itself against a strike (not totally impossible I feel).

2) Easily deployable precision fire power -
(Payload is non-nuclear)
Satellite imagery acts as a major source of intel, wouldn't it be super nice to have the capability to take a target out without firing missiles or sending jets and so on?
Example - Take the Balakote situation, that mission could have been undertaken with so much simplicity.

ISRO and DRDO can definitely collaborate and come up with such a system. So, why is not being done? I am curious about the reasons. Are they -

1) Prohibitive cost, and/or not worth the cost?

2) Maintenance/performance issues?

3) Political - May act as a provocation and start space arms race.

4) Absolute Sci-Fi level thought process and tech has not matured for such stuff, atleast in our country?

5) May be being discussed and developed in some dark DRDO room somewhere? 😅🤣

6) Security issues like malfunction which can cause a catastrophic situation? Again possible to prevent?


I was just thinking of this - might be extremely childish and stupid idea, but want to know the pros and cons and others see it.

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 specifically forbids the placement of nuclear weapons in space. That's why nobody did it - whether US or USSR. India is also a signatory to this treaty. There's not a single major country in the world that isn't.

Violating this would be akin to restarting nuclear testing. Would definitely invite heavy sanctions and/or start a race. You think China can't do the same? That China won't give the same capability to Pakistan? If they can transfer ballistic missile technology, then why not this?

So in the long run it wouldn't really solve any problem as far as deterrence is concerned. Neither does it add any substantial layer to the complexity of our deterrence posture.

Land-based missiles with MIRVs are quite dangerous enough, Submarine-based ones even more so, and no country, not even the US, can say that they are 100% confident that they can stop every missile fired at them. So it's not like land/submarine-based missiles have lost their deterrence value, needing us to go to space.

If anything, submarine-based missiles are FAR more capable of remaining undetected than any other form of deterrence. Satellites on the other hand are visible 24x7 to any adversary and then can easily take them out in a first-strike anytime they want.

+++

The only reason you might want to put nuclear weapons in space is if you want to target objects/facilities on the Moon/other planets - as it would take too much time & effort to launch attacks from Earth. But we aren't anywhere close to doing that as no military facilities exist on other celestial bodies - at least not until much later into this century.
 

screambowl

Senior member
Dec 19, 2017
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first secure your land and sea borders. Space you have already shown a lot of capability by deploying multiple satellites in one go. If you really want to invest there then you need to make state of art missile tracking satellites, highly secure communication satellites and imagery satellites.
 

jetray

Senior member
Mar 15, 2018
1,601
1,007
India
India tested the ASAT system on March 27 - 2019. The aim being to destroy enemy satellite systems in the case of a war.

Given India's current space capabilities, why just stick to defensive weapons?

Why not have MIRVs loaded in a satellite and station them on a country - Spy Satellite on steroids!

Common rebuttal is, this will start a space war, others will do it to us as well. The same holds true for nukes and BMs and ICBMs. Those exist!

If such stuff exist, I feel countries will be more careful doing stupid stuff. A great weapon is that which prevents a war from happening.

However, if done right, there are a number of advantages -

1) Guaranteed Second Strike capabilities (Payload is nuclear) -
Enemy ASAT systems can take it out - sure, but if we have a bunch of satellites circling a country, distinguishing is difficult. One has to try and take out all of them which is not possible. Also, it can have the capability to defend itself against a strike (not totally impossible I feel).

2) Easily deployable precision fire power -
(Payload is non-nuclear)
Satellite imagery acts as a major source of intel, wouldn't it be super nice to have the capability to take a target out without firing missiles or sending jets and so on?
Example - Take the Balakote situation, that mission could have been undertaken with so much simplicity.

ISRO and DRDO can definitely collaborate and come up with such a system. So, why is not being done? I am curious about the reasons. Are they -

1) Prohibitive cost, and/or not worth the cost?

2) Maintenance/performance issues?

3) Political - May act as a provocation and start space arms race.

4) Absolute Sci-Fi level thought process and tech has not matured for such stuff, atleast in our country?

5) May be being discussed and developed in some dark DRDO room somewhere? 😅🤣

6) Security issues like malfunction which can cause a catastrophic situation? Again possible to prevent?


I was just thinking of this - might be extremely childish and stupid idea, but want to know the pros and cons and others see it.
well placing and keeping them in safe orbit would be a big challenge. Keeping it in Low earth orbit means if it blows up it might well rain on you as well.
The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 specifically forbids the placement of nuclear weapons in space. That's why nobody did it - whether US or USSR.
Technically true, but practically do you really think US has no weapons in space? US certainly will have it, just that it is beyond others reach to verify it. All those treaties are like meh...........can we hide it from others without escalation. It may be a defensive weapon like ABM as well, ready go after a missile or location within a short notice.

There are confidential US space missions where space shuttles have spent an year or more in oribit. I certainly dont think they were growing rats in those shuttles.

 

Parthu

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Dec 1, 2017
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Technically true, but practically do you really think US has no weapons in space? US certainly will have it, just that it is beyond others reach to verify it. All those treaties are like meh...........can we hide it from others without escalation. It may be a defensive weapon like ABM as well, ready go after a missile or location within a short notice.

There are confidential US space missions where space shuttles have spent an year or more in oribit. I certainly dont think they were growing rats in those shuttles.


My comment was specifically addressed toward the placement of nuclear weapons - which I maintain are unlikely, purely because they are totally undefended & easy to destroy for peer adversaries, nullifying the one true purpose of nuclear warheads - deterrence.

But weapons in general are a different thing. A non-nuclear projectile can attain sufficient kinetic energy through re-entry to target locations of interest without even needing an explosive payload, or having to employ aircraft & risking human life penetrating defended airspace.

But while programs like X-37B are shrouded in mystery, it cannot be automatically assumed as a weapons test platform. Might as well be for the covert retrieval/servicing//intelligence-gathering/sabotage of orbital assets.
 
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randomradio

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2017
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My comment was specifically addressed toward the placement of nuclear weapons - which I maintain are unlikely, purely because they are totally undefended & easy to destroy for peer adversaries, nullifying the one true purpose of nuclear warheads - deterrence.

But weapons in general are a different thing. A non-nuclear projectile can attain sufficient kinetic energy through re-entry to target locations of interest without even needing an explosive payload, or having to employ aircraft & risking human life penetrating defended airspace.

But while programs like X-37B are shrouded in mystery, it cannot be automatically assumed as a weapons test platform. Might as well be for the covert retrieval/servicing//intelligence-gathering/sabotage of orbital assets.

Project Thor.
 
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