In December, the Pentagon announced its intention to provide Ukraine with satellite communications terminals and services
Photo: DADO RUVIC / REUTERS
Starlink, founded by billionaire Elon Musk, has won a Pentagon tender. The U.S. wants to make the satellite service available to Ukraine in the future, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Starlink is already being used by Ukrainian troops for a variety of tasks, including communication on the battlefield. In the past, Russia has repeatedly attacked Internet services in Ukraine. Starlink was also hit. In response to an attempt to block Starlink in the region, Musk's company Space-X hardened the service's software against external attacks.
Pentagon doesn't just want to rely on Starlink
SpaceX has been providing internet service to Ukrainians and the Ukrainian military since the war began in 2022. The satellite network consists of a rapidly growing network of more than 4000 satellites that are in low Earth orbit. Starlink was able to operate in Ukraine through private donations and thanks to a separate contract with a U.S. foreign aid organization.
The Pentagon's statement now states: "Satellite communications are an important part of Ukraine's communications network." That is why the contract has now been entered into. However, the Pentagon does not want to rely on Starlink alone. The Ministry of Defense will continue to work "with a number of global partners" to ensure that Ukraine has "the necessary robust satellite and communications capabilities."
For SpaceX, the contract with the Pentagon is a success after CEO Musk said in October that it could not afford to fund Starlink in Ukraine indefinitely. According to Musk, maintenance costs around $20 million per month.
According to Bloomberg, the Pentagon did not want to comment on the terms of the contract "for reasons of operational security and due to the critical nature of these systems".