The U.S. armed forces is placing commercial satellite conversation technological innovation by its paces to see if it can help its forces talk superior at superior northern latitudes.
Communications is a functionality gap in the Arctic that demands to be dealt with, Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, mentioned Thursday throughout a videoconference with reporters at the Pentagon.
He and Adm. Charles Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, are currently in Alaska to meet with allies and partners at forums these as the Arctic Safety Forces Roundtable and the Arctic Symposium.
VanHerck pointed out the positive aspects of becoming capable to “fuse together that community of allies and companions and the capabilities that they bring.”
On the other hand, “we do have perform to do … these kinds of as further communications functionality above 65 North to give us the capability to command and control” forces, he extra.
Satcom can be demanding at higher latitudes due to restrictions in the protection that satellites in geostationary orbit can offer in those people areas.
“We’re currently going through screening with a few of companies — OneWeb and Starlink as very well — for some further communications abilities in the Arctic at this time,” VanHerck stated.
The companies have satellite constellations in low-Earth orbit that can provide data and voice communication capabilities.
“The [Defense] Office has been gracious more than enough to give us funding to deliver terminals. We have some terminals in locations in the Arctic that we’re currently assessing their viability and their functionality to supply the command and management that we require from a tactical amount in the Arctic for ongoing operations all the way to the strategic amount,” he said.
He extra: “I’m gonna go pay a visit to a single of those corporations when we’re done below now and consider a glimpse at what they present for us … and how a lot they’re moving ahead. I glimpse forward to continuing to associate with the department all through this testing to raise our conversation capabilities.”
He did not discover which enterprise he planned to pay a visit to.
VanHerck stated he expects the tests to be done before the conclusion of the yr.
The upcoming step would be to combine the terminals on platforms and within just conversation nodes these types of as command posts and operation centers, to permit U.S. army forces to far better share knowledge and information, not only amongst them selves but also with allies and partners, he claimed.
Adm. Richard mentioned Strategic Command, which oversees U.S. nuclear forces, also has specifications for command-and-command and situational recognition in the Arctic.
“The capacity to go accomplish the mission perhaps in a new and greater way is some thing that we’re quite notify to. And the concept that we have these industrial capabilities that would permit us to carry out the mission in a new and greater way compared to just recapitalizing what we’ve performed in the earlier, I think is very exciting. And equally Glen and I are wanting at prospects to do that,” he instructed FedScoop during the briefing.