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Battle Space

Maj Gen YK Gera (Retd) writes, the Royal Air Force Air Command has been made responsible for securing, controlling and enabling the space environment for all joint users of space and to lead engagement with allies and other government departments and colleagues in Joint Forces Command.

Mj Gen YKGera (Retd) comments on the article “Battle Space” written by Gareth Jennings for Jane’s Defence Weekly 16 Jan 2019 Vol 56, is flagged:

Next Generation Air Force

1. As far as Ministry of Defence is concerned, the Royal Air Force Air Command has been made responsible for securing, controlling and enabling the space environment for all joint users of space and to lead engagement with allies and other government departments and colleagues in Joint Forces Command. The arrangement appears logical and workable and similar to control of air environment. Just as there is need to control the air domain before any joint operation can proceed and succeed, so must the same apply to space domain. The Vector is towards air-space continuum. The number of satellites is increasing every day. The day is not far when hypersonic airliners will transit through near space. Space tourism is already on the horizon. The line dividing space and atmosphere has become thin. The new reality is that space based systems have a direct bearing on operations on the ground, adding a new dimension to the Air Space Control. Air, space and cyber have emerged parts of integrated multi-domain effort; which are at the heart of Next Generation Air Force. Investments by UK in new space surveillance radar capabilities to augment the ballistic missile early warning and space surveillance appear to be a step in the right direction. To achieve synergy during operations, the space operations centre has been combined with the National Air Defence Operations Centre (NADOC) to create the National Air and Space Operations Centre (NASOC).

 

Network-Centricity and Cyber Threat

2 .Cyber war does not require huge armies with elaborate logistics support. It can be launched using a simple computer. All civil utilities like electricity, water, transportation, trade, banking and so on can be ground to a stop through cyber attack. It can have a devastating impact and disruption can cause havoc. Surveillance and communication networks can be infected and blanked out. Malicious bugs can be inbuilt into computer systems at the manufacturing stage. Even i-phones can be adversely effected. For successfully countering cyber attack, not only the security forces but citizens using electronic systems have to take proper counter measures. While military owned electronic assets are likely to have reasonable degree of protection, electronic assets owned by civil population do not seem to have that protection. The issue needs to be examined in detail. It will need a lot of ‘will’, funding and creation of appropriate organsiation to ensure reasonable degree of counter measures.

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