As part of an agile combat employment initiative, a mobile satellite terminal system, known as Star Link, was implemented by the 100th Communications Squadron in support of Exercise Deft Leopard at the Royal Air Force Fairford, England, November 1-5, 2021.
Star Link is a terminal developed by an American company about seven years ago to revolutionize the way satellite Internet works.
“Their goal was to send the largest amount of satellites into space than anyone has ever done, and then to have a user terminal that can be installed almost anywhere in the world to provide high-speed internet access. “said 1st Lt. Israel Solorzano, officer in charge of special missions with 100 Communications Squadron.
He explained that there are around 1,700 satellites currently in orbit by the company, making it the largest ISP in space to date.
“The package consists of a small satellite dish that connects to a satellite in space, which then sends the signal back to a data center which routes your information to where you are trying to access on the Internet. Essentially, it’s like a modem router that you have at home, but mobile, ”Solorzano said.
The mobile satellite system began beta testing in early 2021 and was first tested by RAF Mildenhall in October, before then being used to support the exercise at RAF Fairford. Solorzano said he and his team of 20 are responsible for the system, which plays a vital role in communications.
“We used it at Fairford to expand the current capacity we had; in the past we have used wireless washers, which depend on cell phone towers but all over the UK, especially on bases, but there can be a lot of degradation in cell service, ”he said. he declares. “Star Link allows you to connect directly to satellites, which opens up the possibility of achieving much higher (Internet) speeds. The reason we used it there was that we could entertain more people, allow a larger group of users, and also achieve higher speeds in remote locations.
“At one point we had 26 concurrent users using a single Star Link terminal, which is unprecedented,” Solorzano noted. “With the pucks, the maximum number of users at a time was only three or four. The system has been used for our intelligence and operations counterparts, including our flyers, leadership on the ground. The main use of the SIPR was to support ground communications, and we had a team of three aviators supporting it on behalf of my team. “
The 100th CS Airmen spent time setting up all of the Star Link equipment at RAF Fairford, which allowed people to access the SIPR and connect wirelessly to the NIPR.
“This mobile satellite system allows us to be mobile and have a small footprint. One of the principles of Agile Combat Employment is that we can move at any time with a small number of people, while still being able to support a larger contingent, ”Solorzano explained. “We’re small in that we don’t need so many people to support and operate the system, but we are able to support a multitude of people who need the services for on-the-go communications. . The flexibility of it, being able to go almost anywhere, allows us to use it from almost any end point. In the future, we will be able to expand to go wherever we need, anytime.
OIC Special Missions explained that Star Link literally covers the world.
“The wifi pucks are much smaller than this satellite dish, but they are very limited in the speed at which they can receive and transmit data. Star Link is easy to use, much faster, and it can support a lot more people than our old capabilities, ”he said. “It also means that the aviators have been able to draw on some of the latest technology on Earth; something that has proven to be much faster in the field, compared to our old abilities. So it’s easier for them to configure and offers a lot more ease of use for everything in general.
The new system can be installed anywhere with a direct line of sight to the sky.
“I was leading the two-man team at RAF Fairford, and we put the equipment in place to ensure that all operators could log in and access whatever they needed,” said Senior Airman Jeffrey. Gage, 100th CS Cyber Transport Systems Technician. “I enjoyed it because although we support the mission every day, we don’t often get to see it in action, so being able to see it firsthand was a lot of fun. One part I especially enjoyed was being able to fly on a KC-135 Stratotanker to get there – this was my first time on board. “
The hard work of the team has not gone unnoticed.
“Star Link provides us with a fast and reliable network connection so that we can connect our fighters to the command and control structure,” said Major Nate Kane, commander of the 100th CS. “Ultimately, it’s our job to provide the link of command and control to meet the needs of combat commanders, and it’s an important step in that direction. ”
“Before we had this technology at our disposal, we could connect at a maximum of 10MB per second, but once you put it through the secure methods it goes down to hotel wireless speeds… now we are able to pull over 100MB per second. We were able to increase the bandwidth 100 times compared to using the wireless washer, ”said the 100th CS commander.
“It really shakes things up to make us more credible, dynamic and reliable, and gives us the ability to get information to the fighter more quickly. I couldn’t be more proud of our team for leading the command and mobility efforts to tackle our ACE initiatives, ”said Kane.
|Date posted:||01.10.2022 10:08|
|Site:||RAF MILDENHALL, SFK, GB|
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