Japan launches defence communications satellite

Tokyo, Jan 24 (IANS) Japan on Tuesday launched a new communications satellite designed to promote the sharing of military information.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. launched the X-band Kirameki-2 satellite aboard the H-2A Launch Vehicle No.32 from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Kagoshima prefecture, Xinhua news agency reported.

It is the first satellite Japan’s Ministry of Defence, which shoulders the mission to upgrade the Self-Defence Forces’ (SDF) communications network.

The Kirameki-2, operating with X-band technology, is one of three defence communications satellites which will replace three civilian satellites used by the SDF.

The new satellites will facilitate direct communication among units of the ground, maritime and air through a high-speed and high-capacity network and serve as a communication infrastructure, the ministry said.

The Kirameki-2 is designed to operate over the Indian Ocean and to serve the SDF personnel taking part in UN peacekeeping operations in South Sudan and the anti-piracy mission in waters off Somalia.

In 2008, Japan’s parliament approved a law on general principles for the use of space, allowing non-aggressive defence use of space and overturning a decades-old policy of limiting space development to peaceful uses.

–IANS

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