The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ship Argus has become the first military vessel to deploy low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite internet in partnership with OneWeb and its distribution partner, Airbus. According to their joint statement, the maritime terminal on RFA Argus will provide the ship's 400-strong crew with a reliable, low-latency, high-speed broadband connection, even in the most challenging sea conditions and during high-speed motions.
OneWeb said, "The Kymeta Peregrine u8 terminal, fitted as a pilot while Argus was docked in Falmouth this summer, marks the first time that such advanced satellite-connectivity technology has been deployed on a military ship using the OneWeb network."
RFA Argus plays a crucial role for the UK armed forces, serving as a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship during conflicts, a training vessel for sea-based military helicopters, and a front-line deployment vessel for diverse missions worldwide, including counter-narcotics and disaster relief.
Crew Morale and Welfare
Lieutenant Commander Ben Slater, from the Royal Navy's specialist Digital unit, stated, "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 over the OneWeb satellite network and are looking forward to seeing how it performs at sea for the first time on a naval vessel," he added.
Chris Moore, VP of Defence and Security at OneWeb and a former 2* Royal Air Force officer said, "When in demanding, remote, and hazardous environments, the ability to remain connected with loved ones, access recreational resources and communicate with friends becomes vital in sustaining a resilient and motivated force. Now, through OneWeb's global constellation network and working with partners like Airbus - we've shown that we can make this a reality for all."
The successful installation of the maritime-specific terminal is a step forward for OneWeb and Airbus.