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Pentagon praises Starlink speed tests on Arctic bases and armored vehicles as Elon Musk says SpaceX Twitter ad buy was 'tiny'

The Pentagon tested Starlink on moving vehicles in the Arctic (image: Starlink)
The Pentagon tested Starlink on moving vehicles in the Arctic (image: Starlink)
The Pentagon is looking to expand its presence in the Arctic to counter Russia's chain reopening of bases there, and has chosen SpaceX's Starlink for military connectivity tests which it passed with flying colors. Starlink was brought to military bases as well as on moving armored vehicles, and will soon be tested on Air Force planes in the harsh Arctic conditions.

The US Defense Department has tested Starlink Internet connectivity in the Arctic and came away impressed. "We have started testing high-rate connectivity to very remote Arctic bases," says a statement by the Pentagon's Air Force Research Laboratory Strategic Development and Experimentation office. According to its principal aerospace engineer Brian Beal, using Starlink managed to increase the Internet speeds at a remote Pentagon base in the Arctic 30 times.

Not only that, but the Defense Department tested something akin to the commercial Starlink RV service, but on moving armored vehicles, and the SpaceX satellite Internet passed the connectivity test with flying colors. The other critical for the Air Force test there will be carried out on a moving plane in the spring, as Starlink also offers its Aviation service for commercial deployment on planes starting in 2023.

With 50 Starlink terminals currently deployed in the Arctic for military testing, "we’ll be looking for any unexpected impacts of the harsh environment on the system’s performance," says Beal, as the Pentagon will also be probing OneWeb as a service provider. "You can imagine an Army, Air Force or Navy unit deployed to a remote location that doesn’t have the cell-phone service niceties and very quickly have communications at high-rates that an airman can set up in 10 minutes - that’s a great capability to have," he added.

As Russia increases its presence in the Arctic, the US military wants to focus on the region as well, and a SpaceX defense contract is one piece of the puzzle. Meanwhile, SpaceX was pegged as a big new advertiser on Twitter, forcing its CEO Elon Musk to explain that he is not buying ads from himself in order to keep its newfangled social network platform purchase afloat financially.

The Pentagon appears to be largely nonplussed by the controversies around Starlink like its financial struggles in Ukraine, and might be ready to foot the bill or at least compensate with government contracts like the ones it gave to SpaceX for launching military satellites instead of its more traditional Boeing or Lockheed Martin partners. 

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Source(s)

Bloomberg (paywall), CNBC

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 11 > Pentagon praises Starlink speed tests on Arctic bases and armored vehicles as Elon Musk says SpaceX Twitter ad buy was 'tiny'
Daniel Zlatev, 2022-11-14 (Update: 2022-11-14)