The Japanese military has been using Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet service in tests aimed at boosting its communication in case of conflict, the the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Sunday.
Japan’s Self-Defence Forces plan to adopt the technology by the next fiscal year, the report said, citing unnamed government sources.
The military has been testing Starlink since March with the system deployed in about 10 locations and in training, the report added.
Japan’s efforts follow increasing military aggression by neighbours China and Russia, which have been building their capability to target satellites.
It is also looking to deploy military satellites used by the US and other nations as part of its plan, Yomiuri added.
Japan’s Ministry of Defence already has access to communication satellites in geostationary orbit, but use of Starlink technology would add a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit, the report said.
Countries around the world are seeking to build resilience against the risk of jamming of communications or attacks on satellites in the event of conflict.
Starlink, operated by Musk’s SpaceX, has gained prominence in the area following its use by Ukraine on the battlefield and by the war-torn country’s civilians in the face of the Russian invasion.
- Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena