Japan’s military is looking at adopting Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet service next fiscal year, according to leading Japanese newspaper, The Yomiuri Shimbun.
If adopted, Japan would gain access to a new constellation of satellites in low orbit, adding to its fleet of communication satellites in geostationary orbit.
Japan has been testing Starlink for several months as militaries around the world look to build up a stronger communication force. Low-orbit Starlink satellites will be able to provide an added layer of resilience if communication is interfered by rival forces.
Starlink has been a driving force in Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion, with the technology being used by Ukrainian military to communicate secretly. SpaceX founder Musk recently described it as the “backbone” of Ukraine’s defenses.
In February, SpaceX blocked Ukraine from using Starlink to fly drones on the battlefield. The satellites were “never meant to be weaponised,” Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president said.
SpaceX successfully launched its low-orbit satellites above Indonesia last week to provide better connectivity for rural parts of the country. The $540m project aims to bring education facilities and medical centers to “offline” parts of the country.
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Only two-thirds of Indonesia’s 280 million population use the internet with large parts of country having to live with limited connectivity.