DMPQ- What is AVATAR (Aerobic vehicle for hypersonic aerospace transportation) ? Discuss it’s signicance in boosting India’s defence.

AVATAR is a single-stage reusable spaceplane capable of horizontal takeoff and landing, being developed by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization along with Indian Space Research Organization and other research institutions; it could be used for cheaper military and civilian satellite launches. According to the Designers, Hyperplane projects of the 1980’s – the X-30, Tu-2000 etc, failed due to their immense weight. Hence it is the weight which is the promising aspect of AVATAR. It is planned to be the size of a MiG-25. AVATAR was first announced in May 1998 at the ‘Aero India 98’ exhibition held at Bangalore.

The development and employment of space-based systems throughout the 1960s and 1980s provides compelling proof that orbital hardware was instrumental for solving the problems of global information support and communications. Such systems have no alternative today as for their functional capabilities, as has been demonstrated in the post 1990’s era. Though the race for weaponization of space is raging clandestinely, space also has numerous peaceful uses.

However, without modulations the costs of such communications can be expensive and security breaches can be expected. Then there is also the critical limitation on the raw data sent to the ground with current space communications architecture. Therefore, the requirement is to introduce powerful space-borne processing and compression technology for raw data, which can alleviate the need for expensive and expansive downlinks. A space-based information network backbone can act as the transport network for mission satellites as well as enable the concept of decoupled, shared, and perhaps distributed space-borne processing for space-based assets. US and Russia lead in the development of military space systems, with the US accounting for some 90 percent of world military space spending. After the success of Chandrayan in 2008 and Mangalyan in 2014, latter catapulting India into the elite club of Mars explorer countries, the launch of AVATAR RLS will be another feather in India’s cap. ISRO also has plans for manned versions of the AVATAR RLV.

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