The Critical Link

A good defence: Satellite connectivity meets today’s evolving requirements for national defence

Aurora borealis in the night sky in Northern Canada

As Canada increases its defence spending over the coming years, Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites are a critical fit.

Just last month, the Government of Canada announced it will invest an additional C$8 billion to enhance cybersecurity protections, strengthen the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) partnership, and review Canada’s existing defence policy. That spending includes the assessment of equipment and technology necessary to improve armed forces missions “in a world that has fundamentally changed in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” according to the government statement.

Space is an ever-increasing and vital domain of national security and defence. Amid a high-stakes global space race, Canada needs to leverage advanced domestic space capabilities to ensure its defence posture, as well as reaffirm its role as a global ally. Other governments, including the United States and the United Kingdom, are already working with the private sector to improve their national defence infrastructures and ecosystems, as well as those of their allies.

Canada must do the same. The technology exists now to greatly improve government missions in space. LEO satellite communications provide the flexibility, speed, security, and resiliency necessary for defence and security operations. Perhaps most importantly, LEO satellites offer the ability to communicate in difficult-to-reach areas, like our Great Arctic and oceans.

Telesat Lightspeed leverages lasers in space, connecting all of our satellites in a mesh network to deliver real-time communications data in areas such as the Arctic, national airspace, and ocean locations where little-to-no connectivity infrastructure exists today.

This capability is critical considering Canada’s national size and geographical scope. Telesat Lightspeed can help government missions monitor our country’s territories to better protect our national resources and boundaries.

In addition, Telesat Lightspeed will assist global NATO ally defence efforts. For example, our LEO satellites can securely and privately route communications data to the relevant defence organizations and bypass foreign terrestrial infrastructure for faster insights and decision making. It’s also possible to use Telesat Lightspeed satellite connectivity for humanitarian efforts in conflict zones.

Support for NORAD modernization

Partnering with government agencies isn’t new to Telesat. We have a long history of supporting Canada’s Department of National Defence, as well as the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

In addition, Telesat Lightspeed offers significant benefits for NORAD modernization, which seeks to improve situational awareness and capabilities that deter aerospace threats to North America. Specifically, the partnership between Canada and the U.S. aims to “dramatically improve early warning and persistent surveillance of North American airspace and approaches,” and “upgrade and modernize the infrastructure to support robust NORAD operations, including in our Arctic and northern regions” according to a statement from the National Defence.

Achieving these objectives will require investment and partnerships in modern connectivity solutions like Telesat Lightspeed. Defence organizations need low latency, highly secure, and persistent communications at any point on Earth, including in polar regions. Our LEO satellites provide less than 50 milliseconds latency, cryptologic capabilities for enhanced cybersecurity, and high capacity for space data relay in real time without the risk of outages.

Learn more about how Telesat Lightspeed supports defence missions.

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