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British military leverages LEO connectivity

The crew of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Argus is using internet with coverage provided by low Earth orbit satellite. The technology was supplied by OneWeb, in collaboration with its distribution partner Airbus.

The connectivity is being provided by the company’s Kymeta Peregrine u8 terminal, which was fitted while Argus was docked in Falmouth earlier in the summer. The company says that it is the first military vessel to be using the technology.

Discussing the product, a spokesperson said: “The maritime terminal will provide reliable, low latency, high-speed broadband connectivity anywhere in the world, even during challenging sea conditions and high-speed motions.”

Lieutenant commander Ben Slater from the Royal Navy’s digital unit, said: “Crew welfare and morale is a key tenet of a platform’s fighting capability. Enhanced connectivity, such as that delivered by low Earth orbit satellite networks is an area that the Royal Navy are looking to exploit.

“Through close collaboration with industry partners, we have been able to fit a capability onboard RFA Argus that will enable her crew to keep in touch with family and friends. [We are] looking forward to seeing how it performs at sea for the first time on a naval vessel.”

RFA Argus performs several important roles for the UK armed forces, including being their primary casualty-receiving ship, equipped with a 100-bed hospital in times of conflict. It is also a training vessel for military helicopters operating at sea.