Ukraine Uses Elon Musk's Starlink for Drone Strikes


Elon Musk’s satellites connect Ukraine to the Internet. Starlink was conceived as a civilian program, but the Ukrainian military can also use it to control drones and strike Russian tanks and positions.

Immediately after the start of the military operation, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Mikhail Fedorov turned to Twitter with a request to American billionaire Elon Musk to activate his Starlink satellites for use in Ukraine. Musk quickly tweeted his response: “The Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. We will deliver more terminals soon.”

A few days after the statement, a number of terminals and powerful batteries arrived in Ukraine. Fedorov tweeted to express his gratitude: “Starlink is here. Thank you, @elonmusk.” No secret dispatches, no long debates, no state or parliamentary control: just a public deal between a politician and a mysterious billionaire. What at first looked like a PR company now seems to play a significant role in protecting Ukraine.

A few days after sending SpaceX Starlink Internet terminals to Ukraine, Elon Musk warned the authorities to use the devices with “caution.” Being a non-Russian communication system, the Starlink satellite Internet service has a “high” probability of becoming a target of attacks.

Now the British media are reporting that the Ukrainian army is using Starlink to attack drones on Russian positions and military equipment. The Telegraph reported that Starlink is particularly effective in areas with weak infrastructure and a lack of internet connection.

According to The Telegraph, the aerial reconnaissance unit “Aerozvidka” uses Starlink to monitor and coordinate unmanned aerial vehicles, allowing soldiers to conduct targeted fire from anti-tank weapons. Such interaction requires high transmission speeds and stable communication.

An officer of the Aerozvidka unit described the system to The Times : “We use Starlink equipment and connect the drone team with our artillery team,” he said. “If we use a drone at night with a thermal imager, the drone connects via Starlink to the gunner and creates a target capture.”

The Times reported that the Aerozvidka group performs about 300 information-gathering missions every day. The attacks are carried out at night, according to the newspaper, because drones, some of which are equipped with thermal imaging cameras, are almost impossible to see in the dark.

Elon Musk said that the Starlink satellite Internet system is being hacked and silenced in Ukraine, but hackers are not succeeding.

“Starlink, at least so far, has successfully resisted all hacking and jamming attempts,” Elon Musk said today on his Twitter page.

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