Finnish company ICEYE has signed a deal with a Ukrainian charity to provide the country full access to its Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite imaging capabilities over Ukraine for use by the armed forces.
ICEYE will continue to operate the satellite while also providing “access to its constellation of SAR satellites, allowing the Ukrainian Armed Forces to receive radar satellite imagery on critical locations with a high revisit frequency,” according to a company press release.
TV presenter and public figure Serhiy Prytula, founder of the charity, called the agreement “a significant step in responding to the Government of Ukraine’s urgent request for critical earth observation data and it will greatly benefit our Armed Forces.”
We bought a satellite for our Armed Forces 🇺🇦🛰
— Serhiy Prytula (@serhiyprytula) August 18, 2022
The Serhiy Prytula Charity Foundation has engaged in fundraising efforts since Russia invaded nearly six months ago. The most notable campaign was “People’s Bayraktar,” in which the foundation raised funds to purchase four Bayraktar drones.
These campaign funds were eventually used for the deal with ICEYE, because the manufacturer of the Bayraktar decided to donate two of the drones for free, saving the charity 600 million Ukrainian hryvnias ($17 million) to purchase the satellite.
Ukraine Already Benefiting From Western Satellite Intelligence
However, ICEYE is not the first to offer satellite communications and intelligence assistance to Ukrainian forces.
A major contributor to Ukraine’s continuing communications and battlefield success has been the Starlink satellite communication owned by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, according to an article by Politico.
The “cluster of table-sized satellites flying as low as 130 miles above Ukraine and beaming down high-speed internet access” has thwarted Russia’s efforts to cut the country off from the outside world, allowing high-speed battlefield communication, and precision targeting for drone strikes on Russian forward positions, the outlet wrote.
This high-speed, satellite-based communication has been facilitated through the rapid delivery and deployment of a number of “backpack-sized satellite stations” throughout the country.
ICEYE’s contribution will likely further improve Ukraine’s connectivity advantage in the ongoing conflict.