More SpaceX Starlink terminals will go to Ukraine following new order from Pentagon

The Department of Defense said Thursday it is buying more Starlink terminals from SpaceX for use in Ukraine, as the conflict between that country and Russia wages well into its second year.

The Pentagon provided little other details about the order, however, including the number of terminals it would purchase or pricing. SpaceX did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.

“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. “However, for operational security reasons and due to the critical nature of these systems, we do not have additional information regarding specific capabilities, contracts, or partners to provide at this time.”

Russian armed forces have repeatedly targeted internet and mobile networks in Ukraine — including attacking fiber-optic cables, cell phone towers, and radio antennas. At times, these campaigns have left parts of the country in temporary communication blackouts. Starlink, however, has comparatively little ground infrastructure beyond each small terminal, making it more resilient to attack.

Last October, Ukrainian politician Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted that thanks to Starlink, the country was able to quickly restore communications to critical areas after a series of Russian cruise missile attacks.

SpaceX first sent Starlink terminals to Ukraine at the very beginning of the conflict, with CEO Elon Musk saying on Twitter that SpaceX was footing the bill for their ongoing operation. Those costs were later picked up by several EU countries, after Musk threatened to stop financing them (though he later rescinded that statement).

The news comes as the Pentagon separately announced that it would send more equipment to Ukraine — including munitions and missiles — in a security assistance package valued at $300 million. In total, the U.S. has provided $37.6 billion in weapons and other assets to Ukraine’s military since the start of Russia’s invasion.