The U.S. Air Force is using SpaceX Starlink for communication on aircraft in the Indo-Pacific region. The Air Force Expeditionary Center’s Commander General John Klein visited the Yokota Air Base located on the island of Honshu, Japan, on the Kanto Plain, around 45 kilometers northwest of Tokyo at the foothills of the Okutama Mountains. The base hosts around 14,000 personnel that collaborate for United States and Japan defense relations.
General John Klein shared that the 730th Air Mobility Squadron acquired SpaceX Starlink user terminals to use at the military base and in-flight. A Starlink terminal was installed inside a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. Klein says he tested the Starlink network by video calling an airman that was on the C-130J Super Hercules flying over ‘Diego Garcia’, which is a remote island in the Indian Ocean. “I was extremely impressed with the capability,” General Klein told ‘Stars and Stripes’ reporters. “We are looking to give our units throughout the Pacific the ability to communicate with command-and-control entities. They are evolving to do that in support of agile combat employment.” He also shared that the U.S. Air Force combines Starlink with their secure Wi-Fi router system for encrypted communications.
Staff Sergeant Alejandro Flores told ‘Stars and Stripes’ that Starlink is capable of providing high-speed internet at a more affordable cost per terminal, compared to the U.S. Air Force’s own satellite system called ‘Hawkeye’ which costs $250,000 USD with a slower internet speed. According to SpaceX’s Starlink.com website, Starlink user terminals vary in price depending on what it will be used for, ranging from $599 USD for residential use to $25,000 USD for aviation. SpaceX already provides maritime Starlink coverage globally. The service enables sea-going vessels and aircraft to have a reliable satellite communication system while in motion.
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Featured Image Source: U.S. Air Force
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.