U.S. Air Force testing SpaceX Starlink as a communications option for supporting F-35A fighter jet

starlink f35a
Credit: US Air Force

The United States Air Force is currently testing high-speed communications options to support their F-35A fighter jet in remote and harsh locations, and one of those options is SpaceX Starlink satellite internet.

According to a press release the 388th Fighter Wing’s Operations Support Squadron recently used Starlink “to connect an F-35 deployed debrief facility (housing an Autonomic Logistics Information System server stack) and looped back into the Air Force network’s “central point of entry” for F-35 supply chain and logistics.”

What makes the Starlink setup ideal for their use is the fact the required equipment can fit inside the F-35’s travel pod, and the system can be operational in less than 10 minutes and set up by any trained Airman.

“Really, what we want to have is options for communications. We don’t have the infrastructure in every possible location, but with this we could go to SATCOM or cellular LTE and then go to offline capabilities as a last resort. The fact that anyone can be trained to set it up gives us more manpower options and brings another element to creating Multi-Capable Airman,” said 1st Lt. Corbin Meredith, 388th OSS.

In their testing they found Starlink more than capable compared to the current military satellite internet capability, which not only requires a longer lead time to be set up, but also does not transmit data fast enough for remote F-35 operations.

The Starlink system provided speeds up to 30 times faster during the week long test.

Agile Battle Labs Communications
Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar
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