DoD Buys Starlink Satellite Broadband for Ukraine

The Pentagon confirmed it’s buying Starlink satellite broadband service for Ukraine. “We continue to work with a range of global partners to ensure Ukraine has the satellite and communication capabilities they need. Satellite communications constitute a vital layer in Ukraine’s overall communications network and the department contracts with Starlink for services of this type,” the Department of Defense (DoD) said in a statement.

The DoD said it would not provide other details. Bloomberg reports the deal includes Starlink satellite terminals and services to be used by the Ukraine military.

SpaceX asked the Pentagon to fund the Ukraine government and military’s use of Starlink in September. It said it couldn’t afford to donate more user terminals or pay for operations indefinitely, Inside Towers reported.  

However later, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk backtracked, saying he’d keep the funding flowing. At the time, SpaceX withdrew its funding request, but the DoD and SpaceX discussed the issue, according to Ars Technica.

It’s not clear when the current deal was struck. The DoD said in December it would provide Ukraine with satellite communications terminals and services but didn’t confirm a contract with SpaceX, according to Bloomberg.

Though SpaceX provided Starlink terminals to Ukraine shortly after the Russian invasion early last year, the company objected to its service being “weaponized” by the Ukraine military, reports Ars Technica. As a result, SpaceX confirmed it took steps to prevent Ukraine’s military from using Starlink satellite internet with drones.

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