Starlink terminal detection radar to enter testing in Ukraine as per Russian military blogger
The Russian Sestroretsk arms factory claims that it has developed a Starlink terminal detection radar called Borshchevik which "is designed to detect and determine the location of Starlink terminals in a 180-degree sector at a distance of up to 10 km." Not only that, but a Russian military blogger boasted on the popular Reverse Side of the Medal Telegram channel that they will soon start testing the Borshchevik Starlink detection system on the field in Ukraine.
At the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Elon Musk answered the call of Ukrainian official for Starlink satellite Internet coverage and terminals to counter the broadband infrastructure destruction that followed. SpaceX has been providing satellite Internet and terminals in Ukraine ever since, to the tune of US$100 million that Elon Musk claims will be spent just this year for the service. Recently, SpaceX asked the Pentagon to pick the tab for 2023, or else SpaceX will be on the hook for another US$380 million in Ukraine expenses next year.
Elon Musk also expressed worries that this way SpaceX is an open target for Russian cyberattacks, too, as Ukraine is increasingly using the Starlink satellite Internet service for military purposes as well. The ever-belligerent Russian military bloggers have been demanding that the Aerospace Forces knock Starlink satellites serving Ukraine directly out of the sky, and Russian officials have issued vague threats about it, too. The Borshchevik Starlink terminal detection radar, if a credible product, may allow the army to go about it another way, as per its manufacturer:
Direction finding and calculation by algorithms of biangulation of the location of Starlink subscriber equipment with an accuracy of 60m does not exceed 15 minutes per direction finding point. The complex has the ability to be installed on a vehicle chassis, which ensures tactical use on the contact lines. The autonomy of the complex is provided by a compact power source or the power system of the vehicle. The elements of the complex can be painted with various types of camouflage, including the use of coatings with IR remission. The processing of the received data on the location of Starlink terminals is carried out in a modern graphical interface created according to the UI / UX methodology, with the ability to connect topographic maps of the area for intuitive orientation.
While the fog of war coming from Russia and Ukraine makes any of those new military technology or battlefield development claims worth taking with a grain of salt, a Russian military blogger casually mentions that Borshchevik will soon be tested by them personally in the field. While talking about probes of another radar detection system of the weapons manufacturer, they claim:
Also, during the last communication, the SOZ spoke about the final stage of testing an interesting development that will allow timely detection of Starlink terminals along the entire line of contact. It is called the Mobile complex of direction finding "Borshchevik"... I will take part in the first tests on the line of contact.
If such a Starlink terminal detection radar exists indeed and proves a viable tool for sniffing out satellite Internet communication on the ground in Ukraine, it remains to be seen to what extent its potential deployment may impact the scope of SpaceX's presence there.