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India- France satellite ship surveillance

Date: 25 August 2019 Tags: Space



India and France have decided to launch surveillance mechanism for ships using satellites. It will continuously provide maritime surveillance and security.




Most ships are mandated to have a transponder that gives their details and also to detect ships around them. By making out the kind of ship, its location, speed and course with AIS, a country’s maritime force can make out potential threats, similar to the aviation system of IFF or ‘identify friend or foe’ for planes.



  • A group of 10 low earth satellites are launched for this purpose.This constellation carrying telecommunications (AIS) and radar and optical remote-sensing instruments will constitute the first space-based system in the world capable of tracking ships continuously.

  •  The satellites will be operated jointly by France and India to monitor ships in the Indian Ocean.

  • The satellite-based Automatic Identification System or AIS will detect, identify and track a range of vessels moving in the ocean region and guard against aggression, terrorism, piracy, smuggling, source of oil slicks and also be useful for rescues.

  • The AIS satellites will be launched by ISRO from Sriharikota. The two agencies have earlier put up two climate and ocean weather monitoring satellites Megha-Tropiques in 2011 and SARAL-AltiKa in 2013. The new AIS ring will be further supported by ISRO’s Oceansat-3 carrying the French Argos payload.


  • AIS are designed to provide information about a ship to other ships and to coastal authorities automatically.

  • The satellite-based AIS will significantly boost India’s coastal surveillance mechanism and maritime security.

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