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S. Korea pushes for using commercial satellites in military communication

Nov. 28, 2023 - 10:30 By Yonhap
South Korea's first military communications satellite, Anasis-II, launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 20, 2020 (DAPA)

South Korea will push for using commercial satellites in low Earth orbit in a military communication system to efficiently enhance combat capability of the armed forces, the state arms procurement agency said Tuesday.

The Defense Rapid Acquisition Technology Research Institute under the state-run Agency for Defense Development signed a 39.8 billion won ($30.6 million) project with Hanwha Systems Co. for development of the military communication system using Hanwha's commercial satellites operating below an altitude of 2,000 kilometers, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.

Under the program, Hanwha Systems will develop military-specific gateways, small ground stations and satellite terminals for low Earth orbit communication satellites over the next two years. When the development is complete, the military will run a pilot program for six months.

DAPA said the integration of low orbit satellites in the military communication system is expected to enhance operational capabilities of various combat platforms and ensure continuous communication even in challenging terrain, such as mountainous areas.

The agency also outlined plans to develop anti-hacking technology to safeguard the satellite-based military communication system from potential hacking attempts.

Following the launch of the first military-only communications satellite in 2020, the South Korean military has been seeking to place more satellites into orbit to further upgrade the overall communications system.

South Korea is set to launch its first military reconnaissance satellite on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the US Vandenberg Space Force Base in California later this week, with additional plans to deploy four more spy satellites by 2025. (Yonhap)