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The Critical Link

Telesat Lightspeed: Secure, resilient connectivity architecture to ensure information superiority for Canada’s Armed Forces

Image with Canadian military planes and one ship in the Arctic.

Governments around the world are prioritizing the role of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites in their defence infrastructure, driven by emerging technologies, new geopolitical dynamics, climate change, and rising security threats to national sovereignty.

Satellite connectivity is an essential component of national security and Telesat Lightspeed will be fundamental in delivering the greatest capabilities to our women and men in uniform. In a global effort to secure LEO satellite capabilities – led by the United States, the European Union, China, and Russia governments around the world are investing billions of dollars in commercial LEO satellite constellations to support their national defence requirements.

  • The United States Government has invested billions of dollars to create the Space Development Agency, and has focused DARPA and the Space Force on a strategic pivot to commercial LEO procurement.
  • China is developing a state-owned LEO constellation of 13,000 satellites which will serve the Chinese state as well as other nations through China’s Belt and Road initiative, with intentions to start launching satellites this year
  • Russia is developing a state-owned constellation of 600 LEO satellites, aiming to be in service by 2030.
  • The European Union is rapidly trying to secure its own domestic LEO satellite constellation and has already secured Euro 3 billion into the program.

While Canada was one of the first countries in the world to recognize the transformative power of LEO networks for rural broadband connectivity, this new global space race requires Canada to rapidly develop its own plan for secure, enterprise-class LEO connectivity and capabilities.

Telesat Lightspeed for DND Missions

Designed to meet the most demanding government missions in air, at sea and on the ground, Telesat Lightspeed can advance and deliver key defence programs and requirements for Canada, the United States and other allied countries, including NORAD modernization; improving surveillance and monitoring of northern and maritime approaches; modernizing CAF and NORAD command and control systems; supporting NATO activities through a global secure tactical network that bypasses foreign terrestrial networks; combatting climate change and investing in infrastructure and capabilities to support joint-operations globally including in the far north.

Leveraging more than 50 years of providing resilient connectivity solutions for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), Telesat designed the Telesat Lightspeed network with an advanced system architecture and cybersecurity measures to enable ubiquitous, high-throughput, low-latency broadband connectivity for defence missions in Canada, the Arctic, and across the globe. In today’s geopolitical climate, such connectivity has never been more vital for national security.

Modern armed forces have unique requirements that can be met with Telesat Lightspeed, with a stronger value proposition compared to building their own constellations from scratch. These include:

  • Low latency, high throughput – required for real-time communications, decision-making and control of remote systems in the air, at sea or on land;
  • True global coverage including the poles – global mesh network allows for policy-based routing that avoids landing traffic in countries of concern and removes the need for terrestrial data hops;
  • Unprecedented resiliency and redundancy – hundreds of fast-moving, interconnected satellites are much harder to disrupt or jam than a single GEO satellite operating in a fixed position;
  • Security – Telesat Lightspeed has sophisticated, enterprise-class LEO protection elements built-in, such as jam resistance and low probability of intercept.

As the Department of National Defence prioritizes NORAD modernization, growing our NATO contribution, and ensuring Canada’s women and men in uniform have access to the most capable technologies, Canada can leverage the substantial commercial innovations and investments in Telesat Lightspeed to bolster our national defence capabilities and preserve our sovereignty in space – while safeguarding and growing Canada’s highly innovative, world-class industrial competencies.

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