Iridium rattles its satellites to show Indo-Pacific military strength
Satellite company Iridium is starting an exercise in the Indian and Pacific oceans next week to demonstrate its abilities to the Pentagon and other countries.
As tensions rise in the area, because of a perceived threat by China to Taiwan, Iridium says Australia, the Philippines and Japan will take part in the exercise, called Operation Pacific Waves (OPW).
Scott Scheimreif, Iridium’s executive VP for government programmes, said the exercise would “showcase the Iridium network’s strength in providing real-time interoperability, communications-on-the-move, command-and-control, and developing and maintaining a common operational picture across a vast area of responsibility”.
There will be “an international contingent of organizations including Iridium partners and existing customers like the US Department of Defense, coalition partners and scientific research organizations”, he said. The event will take place next Wednesday to Friday.
Sites in the US states of Alaska and Hawaii will be involved, as will sites in Virginia, Arizona and Colorado, as well as Ontario in Canada (see map).
It will showcase “a real-time common operating picture from all corners of the Earth”, said Iridium.
Iridium’s announcement of OPW carefully makes no mention of Taiwan or of China.
“As home to more than half of the world’s population, almost two-thirds of the world’s economy, and some of the world’s largest militaries, the importance of the Indo-Pacific region cannot be understated,” said Scheimreif, who has been with Iridium for almost 20 years.