Developed a military Internet Starlink Mask disguised as a civilian
Developed a military Internet Starlink Mask disguised as a civilian
Anonim

It is already clear that the Starlink satellite network is a purely military project under the guise of a civilian one. Accordingly, it falls under the category of objects that will be hit in the first place. This system is fundamentally changing the nature of modern combined arms combat. Both in terms of the weapons systems used, and the tactics of their use. More recently, all this was described as a fantastic future. So, it has already arrived.

Behind the growing hype around the coronavirus, quietly and almost imperceptibly, Elon Musk threw another handful of his satellites into orbit. On March 15, from Cape Canaveral, SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 carrier with six dozen satellites for the Starlink orbital constellation. This is the sixth batch of devices for the satellite Internet project, which is the idea of ​​an American innovator.

American drone

American drone

Ivan Shilov © IA REGNUM

The news could have ended on this, if not for a number of important nuances that have surfaced in connection with Starlink in recent years. Officially positioned as a purely civilian project to provide massive access to broadband Internet anywhere in the world, especially in the absence of a land-based infrastructure, it increasingly manifests itself as a dual-use communication system that allows you to confidently mask military targets under the guise of civilian communications.

The latter is especially relevant following the Turkish invasion of North Syria, which has become a benefit of tactical drones. Some may recall that the first military drone use officially took place during Operation Allied Force in 2003, when George W. Bush invaded Iraq.

American UAV MQ-9 Reaper

American UAV MQ-9 Reaper

Afspc.af.mil

But then only 12 drones were involved, or almost 90% of the US fleet, brought together into one centralized command, while the Turkish fleet already has 1 thousand vehicles of different classes, including in the forward units of infantry and artillery. Exactly how many drones Ankara threw into battle in Idlib is not yet reliably known, but more than 30 of them she lost for sure.

As practice has shown, UAVs significantly change the tactics of the entire combined arms battle and solve the main task - overcoming the fear of incurring losses. The drone, of course, is a pity, but if the enemy knocks him down, it's just iron. Not even very expensive.

Unlike American monsters like the RQ-4 Global Hawk Block2 ($ 215 million for 2011), the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 UAVs are much cheaper. In November 2018, Ukraine purchased a set of drones from Turkey (6 UAVs, 2 ground control stations and 200 Roketsan MAM-L missiles) for only $ 69 million.

The only, but key, vulnerability of drones is communication. The use of drones is limited by its radius and the degree of resistance to countermeasures. Precisely to counteraction, and not only to hindrances.

Because the enemy can, and will certainly, if possible, try to turn off communication in the literal sense physically - simply by bombing the control centers or by forcefully grounding the flying signal repeaters. As the saying goes, no repeater - no problem. So, it is very likely that Musk was able to find and implement a solution to this problem.

Turkish UAV Bayraktar TB2

Turkish UAV Bayraktar TB2

CeeGee

No, according to official press releases, the Starlink orbital group is intended only to provide citizens with fast, up to 10 megabits, broadband Internet, allowing them to enjoy YouTube videos anywhere in the world.Whether among the dunes of the Sahara, even on Everest, even in the deepest jungles of the Amazon, even in the middle of the Great Garbage Patch.

But at the same time, back in December 2018, the Pentagon conducted several experiments as part of the Defense Experimentation Using the Commercial Space Internet. So to speak, as a test of the capabilities of the "Internet of Things", the US military tried to communicate and control the AC-130 Specter flying battery of infantry fire support through Starlink.

In the spring of 2020, it is planned to test the compatibility of Starlink with the control system of the KC-135 Stratotanker military transport tanker aircraft. Even through the orbital Internet network, the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II will be able to exchange information with the reusable unmanned spacecraft X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV).

At first glance, nothing out of the ordinary. Communication with air and ground equipment via satellites was quite a mass phenomenon back in the early 80s of the last century. As well as the methods of dealing with it, based on the fact that the constellation of such satellites usually did not exceed a dozen or so devices that could be shot down.

For example, with the help of interceptor satellites (say, as part of the Krona anti-satellite defense system) or something like the Chinese anti-satellite missile Dong Neng-3 (DN-3).

Rocket launch

Rocket launch

This won't work with the Starlink network. Firstly, because it is based on very cheap and small-sized devices assembled practically on a mass commercial element base. The total cost of one device, including delivery to a given point in orbit, is approximately $ 1.1 million, of which logistics costs take a million.

As the carriers improve, this part of the cost is planned to be halved by 2030. Whereas an interceptor missile costs somewhere in the 50-60 million. This alone makes the traditional approach to solving the problem too costly.

Secondly, instead of a couple of dozen large and expensive communication satellites, the Starlink system will comprise from 10 to 12 thousand vehicles distributed in three layers in orbits with an altitude of 200 to 450 (according to other sources, up to 900-1100) kilometers. And although Musk has already cut the "sturgeon" to 1200 satellites by 2025 (today there are already 460 satellites in orbit), it is still too expensive for traditional interception tactics.

Thirdly, with the previously understood short life span of an individual unit (no more than 2, 5−3 years), the system immediately includes a regular replenishment of the grouping of 40-50 units per year, which in any case with a large margin exceeds the capabilities of any classical countermeasure system …

But the most important is the fourth. Positioning the Starlink network as an initially completely civilian Internet allows it to be reliably separated from the military. Thus, raising the bar for making a decision to destroy the network to a great height of serious political consequences from not only the aggressor country, but also from other countries that are not formally involved in the conflict, but are guaranteed to be affected by the loss of Internet connection tied to the Starlink network …

Starlink satellites in a package before separation from the upper stage

Starlink satellites in a package before separation from the upper stage

Accordingly, already now it is necessary to conduct massive information work both inside the country and outside it regarding the fact that Starlink is a purely military project under the guise of a civilian. Accordingly, it falls under the category of objects that will be hit in the first place.

Thus, under the guise of a purely civilian private commercial service, the United States is deploying remote control systems for all sorts of "devices", not only extremely resistant to enemy countermeasures, but also highly protected in terms of camouflage.

Today, you can learn about the combat use of drones by indirect signs, the most important of which is the appearance on the air of a radio signal from a remote control station. Radio intelligence may not know where the drones are and how many there are, but they understand for sure that there are definitely enemy drones here.

In the case of working via a satellite Internet system, this moment disappears. Because normally, the background radiation of Starlink satellites will always exist. It is not technically difficult to organize it even in an area where there are no subscribers.

Radar

Radar

Mil.ru

A significant increase in secrecy will also be facilitated by the ability of communication to work only with a narrow directed beam upward, which also makes it difficult to detect the transmitter by spurious emissions.

This significantly, even radically changes the nature of modern combined arms combat. Both in terms of the weapons systems used, and the tactics of their use. More recently, all this was described as a fantastic future. So, it has already arrived. It's time to think about how we can live in this new world and how to reset the military aspect of Starlink.

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