Hughes and OneWeb receive U.S. Air Force agreement for Arctic broadband

Hughes and OneWeb receive U.S. Air Force agreement for Arctic broadband

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) signs an agreement with the low Earth orbit broadband venture OneWeb. This is in order to demonstrate controlled Satcom services in tactical Arctic sites.

Project leading servicer Hughes Network Systems, a OneWeb stakeholder providing elements of its ground segment. This will assess the services between specific U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) locations.

Dylan Browne is the head of government services at OneWeb. He mentions the following:
  • “The OneWeb constellation is intended to allow low-latency broadband entry around the world,”
  • “This is by permitting connectivity in earlier unapproachable areas—an ability that is standard for strategic, multi-domain ventures in the Arctic region.”

The Department of Defense agreement is a portion of the U.S. Air Force’s Defense Experimentation Utilizing the Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI) system.

OneWeb’s satellites are in arctic orbits, and Browne mentions in March that this provides the firm an advantage for Polar regions of expanding geopolitical significance.

Presently, only Iridium Communications features pole-to-pole Satcom exposure.

However, SpaceX releases its first batch of Starlink LEO broadband satellites to arctic orbit on Jan. 24, complementing the increasing number of spacecraft it is transmitting to more orbits.

In December 2018, SpaceX locks a three-year, $28 million agreement under the DEUCSI system in order to assess ways the military establishment might apply Starlink.

Numerous other firms secure agreements under DEUCSI. This is in order to discover how industrial broadband services can be incorporated with military establishment programs.

The firms include hardware contributors, names are as follows:
  • Ball Aerospace
  • L3Harris
  • Raytheon
  • Others

Approximately 1,500 Starlinks are presently in orbit, following SpaceX’s newest release of 60 satellites on May 4. SpaceX lately altered its license to carry out 4,408 Starlinks at about 550 kilometers.

OneWeb has 182 constellations of around 650 in orbit at over 1,200 kilometers, after its most recent release on April 25. The firm plans to begin presenting services in the Arctic area this fall after releasing two more sets of 36 satellites.

U.S.- based Hughes, which is manufacturing the firms’ gateway equipment and client terminal core segments, is controlling the Arctic service demonstrations for the U.S. Air Force. It is affiliating with South Korea’s Intellian, the antenna producer devising OneWeb’s client terminals.

The British administration and Indian telecom corporation Bharti Global acquired OneWeb out of bankruptcy the previous year with a $1 billion investment.

In January 2021, OneWeb raises from the following:
  • $350 million from SoftBank (Japanese internet giant)
  • $50 million from Hughes Network Systems
  • $550 million from Eutelsat (French satellite operator)

OneWeb anticipates raising nearly $500 million this year in order to achieve the constellation’s financing.

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