Starlink, founded by billionaire Elon Musk, now has a contract with the US Defence Ministry. The Pentagon will purchase satellite communication terminals and services from SpaceX for use by the Ukrainian military. This was reported by the Ministry of Defence.
“We continue to work with a number of global partners to provide Ukraine with the resilient satellite and communications capabilities it needs,” the Pentagon said in a statement. – “Satellite communications are a vital layer in Ukraine’s overall communications network, and the department contracts with Starlink to provide this type of service.
According to Bloomberg, the terminals will be purchased as part of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which is intended to meet the country’s long-term security needs. In December, when the funding package was announced, the Ministry of Defence said it would provide Ukraine with “terminals and services” for satellite communications, but there was no confirmation that Musk’s company would be awarded the contract.
Starlink is already being used by Ukrainian troops in various areas, including for communications on the battlefield. SpaceX has been providing Starlink, a rapidly growing network of more than 4,000 satellites in low Earth orbit, to Ukrainians and the military through private donations and a separate contract with the US Agency for Foreign Assistance since the start of the full-scale invasion.
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The contract with the Pentagon is a boon for SpaceX after CEO Elon Musk said in October that the company could not afford to indefinitely fund Starlink in Ukraine – according to him, it costs about $20 million a month to maintain the service.
Russia has repeatedly tried to disable and jam internet services in Ukraine, including attempts to block Starlink in the region, but SpaceX has countered these attacks and only strengthened the service’s software. The Pentagon does not disclose the terms of the contract “for operational security reasons and because of the critical importance of these systems”.