Russian Arctic troops to access high-speed transmission channels

The whole Russian force in the Arctic will access high-speed information transmission channels by the end of 2019. They will become operational after Meridian-M satellites are orbited. They will increase the carrying capacity of the satellite communication system and expand its zone of coverage to the whole Northern Sea Route. Arctic communications are a difficult technical problem, experts said. Most modern satellites do not cover territory to the north of the 70th latitude where most of the Northern Sea Route goes, the Izvestia daily writes.

China possible customer of Russian Sukhoi Su 57 stealth fighter jet Kosmos-1220  satellite (Picture source: Sputnik )

The group of satellites will have global coverage and provide a guaranteed access to protected high-speed data transmission, telephony and other communications, as well as minimize the amount of resource lease from other general-purpose operators.

Only one system is operating in the Arctic. It is the American Iridium which provides only voice communications which are not always stable. Globalstar and Inmarsat operate below the 70th northern latitude.

Geostationary satellites do not cover the Arctic, scientific chief of the Moscow Space Club Ivan Moiseyev said. In Soviet years, communications were provided there from elliptic orbits where Molniya telecom satellites operated. "Those engaged in communications said there is nobody to communicate there besides a small number of border posts. There are no commercial subscribers and the Arctic is of no interest for operators of civilian satellites. It has been believed until recently that communications between a small number of subscribers can be provided without satellites by wired or wireless or tropospheric communications which were deployed by the Soviet Union, but later abandoned because of the absence of subscribers," he said.

Rear Admiral and Hero of Russia Vsevolod Khmyrov believes it is necessary to increase the satellite grouping. "Communications are important for the Navy and Ground Forces. The effective engagement of land troops, warships and submarines depends on them. New modern satellites will increase combat effectiveness as they fulfil several missions at a time, including the survey of physical fields or meteorological phenomena," he said.

The Defense Ministry reportedly plans to deploy four Blagovest satellites to ensure high-speed data exchange, telephony and teleconferences. The first satellite was launched from Baikonur by Proton-M rocket on August 17, 2017 and named Kosmos-2520. Last year Kosmos-2526 and Kosmos-2533 blasted off. The final craft of the series is to be launched in summer. In 2006-2014, seven Meridian satellites were launched, but not all of them became operational.

The Russian military need sustainable communications in the Arctic, as they have been mounting presence in the region for several years. In December 2014, the united strategic North command was set up and headquartered in Severomorsk. It controls territories and military units provided by the Western Military District. In 2019, the command acquired the status of a military district, the Izvestia said.

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