On Thursday, the Indian army carried out what it termed as a "surgical strike" on terror camps located across the Line-of Control in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (POK). According to a report in the Times of India, ground images for this operation were provided by the recently launched Cartosat 2C satellite.
Cartosat 2C was made in Ahmedabad and launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota on 22 June this year. It was one of the 20 satellites that were put into orbit in this historic mission. The data provided for the surgical strike was reportedly the first time that Cartosat 2C was used to provide high-resolution images of certain areas.
A surgical strike refers to a mission that aims to damage only the intended target without any collateral damage to any surrounding structure. This requires high-level intelligence information.
The Cartosat series of satellites, also referred to as the "Eye in the sky", are designed to provide that data.
ISRO started the Cartosat program in 2005 with an aim to launch satellites with cutting edge technology that would provide observational data. Cartosat 2C has a resolution of 0.6 metres, which means that one pixel in a photograph provided by the satellite covers 0.6 metres. The satellite uses a panchromatic camera which captures images in black and white. Cartosat 2C can even record a minute-long video.
"We've been providing images to the armed forces, the army in particular," a source from ISRO told TOI. "While I cannot comment if any specific image was sent on a particular day in the previous week, I can say that Cartosat images are meant for this purpose and the army has used this."
The army also relies on Cartosat satellites to provide it with 'Area Of Interest' images of places that require constant monitoring. The images are provided in a shape-file, comprising data related to an area's physical features.