Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Elon Musk’s Satellites Helping Zelensky’s Ukrainian Drones To Pound Putin’s Helpless Tanks

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Elon Musk‘s Starlink satellite system is giving Ukrainian forces the edge in winning the drone war as the nation fights back with technology to track down invading Russians.

Aerorozvidka (Aerial Reconnaissance) is being used to attack Russian drones and target Vladmir Putin’s army of tanks and track down their positions in the conflict, which has been ongoing since February 24, according to reports.

Drones used in the field are able to use the newly available Starlink to keep connected and provide intelligence as internet and power outages plague Ukraine.
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Britain’s Ministry of Defence warned last week that Moscow is ‘probably’ targeting Ukraine’s communications infrastructure.

With the technology, the drones can be directed to drop anti-tank munitions to help ward off the Russian attack.

The Ukrainians are also enlisting the help of PD-1 unmanned aerial vehicles fitted with infrared sensors. With a wingspan of 10ft, the vehicles are being used to collect vital information on the movements of Russian troops.

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The Ukrainian drone unit uses a ‘Delta’ system, which has been perfected in recent years with the help of Western advisers.

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It can be accessed by basic laptops, and has a ‘situational awareness’ software installed which creates an interactive map using images from drones, satellites, human intelligence and sensors to build a physical picture to help in tracking the enemy.

The system, which is said to be on par with NATO systems, is believed to have been tested in the Sea Breeze military exercise held in the Black Sea in 2021, which involved the USA, Ukraine and 30 other countries.

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The Ukrainian’s have perfected the system with the help of Western countries, who have provided radio communications superior to Soviet-era technology. The US is also said to have spent millions of dollars on the system to protect against Russian hacking.

There are fears that the system could be impacted by internet disruption as Russia continues its assault, leading to power outages and internet connectivity issues.

Shortly after the invasion, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice-prime minister, sent a tweet to Mr Musk, asking to be given access to Starlink stations.

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Mr Musk later responded: ‘Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.’

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Within days, trucks arrived at Ukraine hauling Starlink terminals, as well as adapters providing power via cigarette lighters in cars, or battery packs, and a roaming feature to ensure people are connected while they travel to safety.

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Last week, Starlink became the most downloaded app in Ukraine, with more than 100,000 people using the connection.

Starlink uses thousands of small satellites around 340 miles above the earth’s surface.

Base stations on earth send radio waves up to the satellites, which beam those down to a satellite dish terminal back on the planet.

The aim of the system is to bring internet access to rural and poorly connected parts of the world. It has allowed internet connections to travel quickly, with more speed provided due to travelling through space.

The lower orbit of Starlink also allows signals to travel even faster.

Over 2,000 satellites have been sent up to space so far, and there are plans to launch around 12,000 in total.

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The usefulness of the system has now reached into military operations, with the Ukrainian drone armies of ‘Aerorozvidka’ being able to use it to continue communicating with their bases by sending signals from Starlink terminals and using ground stations in neighbouring countries, including Poland.

The Aerorozvidka unit was formed by a group of civilian model airplane enthusiasts and those with a background in engineering in 2014 following the outbreak of war in eastern Ukraine.

The group helped to build drones and sensors for the military to monitor the border, and helped to adapt commercially available drones to gather intelligence and even drop homemade explosives.

Photo Credit: Getty

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