Starlink’s impact on drone Warfare

February 2023: Many reports from Ukraine support the fact that efforts by the country have been significantly aided by their use of Starlink’s services. Whether it is in civilian use, or military use, Starlink terminals and services are widely used. A specific area of interest is in drones, where reports from Ukraine claim “the country’s military was looking to establish strike forces that would be provided with Starlink equipment to create fleets of interoperable drones” according to C4ISRNET. According to experts like David T. Burbach, professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, “[there is] no question that Starlink’s prominence in the Ukraine war has militaries all over the world considering and looking to make greater use of it as well as similar mobile data constellations.” With some unconfirmed reports from pro-Russian paramilitary groups claiming to have found Starlink dishes modified to fit in Ukrainian drones, the question of using signals emitted by potential Starlink-enabled drones or base stations to intercept them arises. The RNL’s Dr. Humphreys asserts that the user terminal beams  “are narrow (less than 5 degrees and they hop around in frequency, which make it hard to get an actual lock on a terminal.” The impact of Starlink’s use in current Ukrainian efforts are bound to shape potential future military uses of Starlink, regardless of comments by Starlink and Elon Musk regarding a ban of use of Starlink for long-range drone strikes by Ukrainian forces. Story here.