Chinese military deeply alarmed over Starlink's dual-use capabilities

Fri, 13 May 2022 05:29:20 GMT
Space Daily

Moscow (Sputnik) May 12, 2022 Beijing's concerns echo criticisms of the South African-born...

On Sunday, Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin warned that Elon Musk would be held accountable for supplying Starlink internet terminals to neo-Nazi militants fighting in Ukraine.

SpaceX's plans to increase the constellation of Starlink internet satellites from 12,000 to 42,000 "Should put the international community on high alert," China Military Online, a news site affiliated with the Central Military Commission, the PRC's top national defence organ, has warned.

Pointing to SpaceX's use of Starlink to provide high-speed internet services to Ukraine amid Kiev's conflict with Russia and the Donbass, the outlet pointed out that "In addition to supporting communication, Starlink, as experts [have] estimated, could also interact with UAVs and, using big data and facial recognition technology, might have already played a part in Ukraine's military operations against Russia."

China Military Online questioned Starlink's lofty claims that it was a "Civilian" programme, pointing to strong ties with the US military going back years - starting with the fact that some of the satellite launch sites have been built directly inside the Vanderberg Air Force Base.

In 2019, SpaceX carried out a series of tests funded the US Air Force to see how well Starlink satellites can communicate via encrypted networks with military aircraft.

In March 2021, plans were announced for the Air Force to further test Starlink's internet capabilities.

In March 2022, the Air Force reported successful testing of data transmission between F-35 fighters using Starlink satellites at speeds up to 160 megabytes per second.

China Military Online characterized Starlink as a "Megaproject that weaves a new net over the Earth, defying restrictions in geography and landform," serving not only as a tool for use by the Pentagon, but as a new 'independent' global internet controlled by the United States, "Which will pose a serious challenge to all countries in defending their cyberspace sovereignty and protecting their information security."

About 2,200 Starlink satellites orbit the planet today.

Musk announced in March that he'd delivered Starlink internet terminals to Ukraine.