The ability of multiple units to work together is crucial during a war. From planning and carrying out military tactical operations to adjusting fire, a lot depends on effective communication between commanders and troops on the ground. Without effective and reliable communication as well as thorough maps created with the aid of space technology, all of this is not conceivable.
Large volumes of information of any kind can be sent due to digital signals sent by satellite. Military satellite Internet networks have been a major advantage for the US military for the past 20 years. With effective communication, a thorough understanding of the terrain, knowledge of the enemy’s positions, and the ability to quickly request assistance, U.S. Army officers were able to successfully complete their mission.
OneWeb’s polar-orbiting constellation provides high-speed internet to American troops stationed at Thule Air Base in Greenland, a distant military base well outside the range of a standard geostationary satellite. A prototype LEO (low Earth orbit) network that is quick enough to support video conferencing, streaming video, and interactive games were successfully established at Thule, Hughes Network Systems and OneWeb said on June 22.
At the base, the network provides support for 600 servicemen. According to Hughes’ news release, one recent evening at Thule, “near to a terabyte of connection was consumed” by roughly 100 military personnel who were all concurrently online.
U.S. military troops that carry out satellite command-and-control, missile warning, and space tracking missions are based at Thule Air Base. Since high-speed internet access is scarce in the Arctic region, the Hughes-OneWeb test is crucial. For many years, only Iridium Communications has been able to offer consistent coverage over the poles, and even then, only for less bandwidth-demanding services like mobile phones and different monitoring and tracking apps.
A $3.4 million contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory supports the activities of Hughes and OneWeb. Defense Experimentation Using the Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI), an initiative of the US Air Force, is supervised by AFRL. OneWeb investor Hughes, who is providing some of the ground segment for the Thule project, is the project’s prime contractor. Thule, the northernmost American military outpost, lies less than a thousand miles from the North Pole and was constructed in the 1950s.
“The testing has shown the ability of new LEO networks to drastically improve communications to places that have historically been extremely difficult to serve,” stated AFRL program manager Brian Beal. The network’s stability and performance have been praised by the residents of Thule, who have used it to communicate with friends, family, and coworkers all around the world.
Approximately 14 terabytes of data are sent each month via the Thule LEO network’s four antennas, according to Hughes, which are connected to the OneWeb satellites that are located overhead.