The Department of Defence has awarded a contract to SpaceX’s Starlink, the satellite communications service founded by billionaire Elon Musk, to purchase those satellite services for Ukraine, the Pentagon announced on Thursday.
“We continue to work with a range of global partners to ensure Ukraine has the resilient satellite and communication capabilities they need. Satellite communications constitute a vital layer in Ukraine’s overall communications network and the department contracts with Starlink for services of this type,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
Ukrainian forces have employed Starlink for a number of purposes, including battlefield communications.
Since the start of the conflict in 2022, SpaceX has been providing Ukrainians and the country’s military with Starlink internet service, a rapidly increasing network of over 4,000 satellites in low Earth orbit, through private donations and a separate contract with a U.S. foreign aid agency.
The Pentagon contract is a godsend for SpaceX after Musk, the firm’s CEO, stated in October that the business could not afford to fund Starlink in Ukraine indefinitely, an initiative he estimated cost $20 million per month to sustain.
Russia has attempted to cut off internet services in Ukraine, and attempts to block Starlink in the region, but SpaceX has responded by strengthening the service’s software.
The Pentagon did not reveal the contract’s details “for operational security reasons and due to the critical nature of these systems.”