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Starlink terminals captured in Ukraine as Russia claims delivery of its own satellite communications system to troops

About 30 thousand Starlink terminals are already in Ukraine (image: ne_kot_a_kit/Twitter)
About 30 thousand Starlink terminals are already in Ukraine (image: ne_kot_a_kit/Twitter)
Shortly after a Russian weapons manufacturer claimed they have developed a Starlink terminal detection radar to be tested on the battlefield in Ukraine, Russia now informs that it has captured Elon Musk's satellite Internet stations as trophies. The former head of Roskosmos also tipped that Russia has created and delivered its own satellite system for battlefield communications.

Speaking in a wide-ranging interview after an attempt on his life in Donetsk, the former head of Russia's space agency Rogozin claimed that Starlink satellite Internet terminals in use by Ukraine's military have been captured. While the interview with the Russian state media mainly focused on the revelation that Russian satellites discovered the Ukrainian command that lobbed artillery rounds on the restaurant where he was celebrating his birthday, there were some tidbits about satellite communication on the battlefield during which the Starlink terminal capture info was given.

According to Rogozin, the attempt on his life may have been helped by Western intelligence and, once an opportunity opens, Russia plans to punish the immediate perpetrators. It didn't become clear if Starlink satellite Internet was used during the reconnaissance or execution phase, yet Rogozin said they are acutely aware of the problems that Elon Musk's SpaceX services have caused to Russian troops on the battlefield:

We know what harm the Starlink space communication systems used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the subscriber equipment itself, brought to us. By the way, we have it trophied, we have it.

This admission comes hot on the heels of a Russian weapons maker announcing a new radar system created specifically for detecting Starlink terminals in Ukraine which a military blogger said is being tested in the field last month. It was not clear if the Starlink-sniffing radar was used or whether the SpaceX Internet terminals have simply been captured as wartime trophies during Russian offensive operations.

Rogozin also claimed that Russia has adapted a civilian satellite communications solution for military purposes and it is already being tested by an artillery brigade with good results. He further clarified that Russia is in the process of refining its algorithms for military use to prevent jamming as it is based on civilian equipment that Russian companies are already producing.

Therefore, I believe that space communications in the troops, of course, should be. We have certain technologies, I don't want to name them again. Until now, they have been used as exclusively civilian technologies. With a certain refinement of the algorithms, they turn out to be absolutely applicable along the front line, in conditions even when such communication channels are suppressed by enemy electronic warfare. We have produced the first compact sets of equipment, they have already been delivered to one of the artillery brigades, and they have shown good results.

Elon Musk is on record claiming that SpaceX can't carry the burden of providing Starlink satellite Internet on its own without Pentagon help, as it spent US$100 million on it last year. The Ukrainian military is increasingly using Starlink communication for offensive operations and Elon Musk was worried that SpaceX may be hacked as a result, while its Starlink Internet terminals which Ukraine now reportedly mounts on drones could become a legitimate target for Russian troops.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 01 > Starlink terminals captured in Ukraine as Russia claims delivery of its own satellite communications system to troops
Daniel Zlatev, 2023-01-23 (Update: 2023-01-23)