How Elon Musk’s Starlink is used in the war in Ukraine and Gaza

Especially during the wars Today, access to the internet is essential because it allows you to be constantly updated on the situation on the battlefield and on the movements and movements of enemy troops. In this sense in recent months, both in the context of war in Ukraine both within the Gaza Stripthe use of satellite systems that allow access to the network has grown, such as Starlinkthe constellation beyond 6000 satellites created by the company SpaceX owned by Elon Musk. Starlink aims to provide high-speed satellite internet globally, including most remote areas of the Earth. But how is it being used in war contexts?

How and why Starlink is used in war

Although it is currently more costly of other systems, using Starlink to connect to the internet only requires having aantenna that communicates from Earth with satellites in orbit, allowing a connection in a few minutes fast and accessible even in very remote areas of the planet, such as rural or isolated areas. Even in extreme situations, such as a war, Starlink is making a difference, managing to allow access to the network and communications: in particular in the war in Ukraine and in the Gaza Strip this satellite system was used by some of the forces in the field and this has been a cause for discussion among analysts.

Without a doubt the use of Starlink in ongoing conflicts today is useful from the point of view tactical and military because the combined use of the system and drones allows us to send data and information in real time on clashes and movements of forces in the field and also to attack enemy troops with remarkable precision.

This also opens a discussion related to control access to communications and therefore toinformation by an individual, which is why Europe has decided to create a satellite internet system, a competitor to Starlink, Iris¬≤ (the name indicates “infrastructure for resilience”) for which it has invested more than 2.4 billion euros and which should come into operation during 2024.

The use of Starlink in the conflict in Ukraine

Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022, SpaceX donated more than 1300 terminals to the Ukrainian military forces to use the Starlink satellite internet connection, with a great benefit for communication and coordination between Kiev’s military forces. At the end of February 2024, however, theUkrainian army stated that he has evidence of the use of Starlink satellites also by the Russian army in the occupied territories, in particular in the region of Donetsk. This despite Elon Musk himself declaring that he has in no way negotiated with Moscow for its use.

Naturally, the use of Starlink in conflict situations can escape rigid control by Space terminals that they were used by Russia. The problem is that often, especially if you are very close to the fighting front, it is complex to distinguish between use by Ukrainian or Russian forces. Terminals, in fact, can use geolocations false to hide your real location.

Image

The use of the Starlink satellite system in the war on Gaza

In the tragic context of the war between Israel and Hamas and the resulting Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip, at the end of October 2023 Elon Musk declared that Space Gaza to facilitate communications, in particular of humanitarian organizations. This decision followed the extensions blackout who isolated the Strip after attacks by the armed forces Israeli.

In mid-February 2024, the Israeli government announced approval for the use of Starlink in the Strip. Other than information and communication purposesthe system is also used for medical purposesallowing remote connections with medical teams to support healthcare personnel present in the Strip.