Paul Wells, pictured at the 2018 ICT Spring conference, is CCO and vice president of Govsat
Three-and-a-half months after the launch of their first satellite, Luxembourg startup Govsat is working with the Belgian navy and fleshing out a project involving drones.
Speaking on the first day of the ICT Spring & Space conference, Govsat CCO and vice president Paul Wells said the firm was currently supporting a number of governments and institutions with satellite communications capabilities.
“We’re supporting the Belgian navy with their deployment of one of their capital ships,” he said, adding: “Looking to the future there’s a new project. You’ll hear more about bringing together uavs as part of the collection of data that is needed for maritime surveillance, not just piloted aircraft but also remotely piloted systems.”
Govsat is a government satellite capability organisation providing high level communications for government and institutions like the UN and Red Cross in times of stress and crisis. “You have to plan for worst case scenario. That’s what governments and institutions do.”
Explaining why we would need an extra layer of secure communications, Wells cited the need to get data to ships in the middle of the ocean as well as providing communications network after a natural disaster when traditional communications infrastructure no longer work. “It’s really important that sat com is there to provide an additional layer of resilience on top of what is already there,” Well said.
From a military perspective, Govsat’s deployment is used for command control, intelligence surveillance, reporting and situational awareness. “They’re there to protect us, to stop others doing awful things to us. Our focus is on them as end users to help them protect us,” Wells said.
Why the need for so much security?
Wells gave a snapshot of the various threats Govsat’s product helps to counter, including disruptive incidents such as spoofing gps and blocking resulting from security flaws as well as information manipulation through different media which influences outcomes.
He further reminded attendees that they are being monitored and their data collected. “Anyone who doesn’t believe a nation or hostile nation isn’t doing that to you, I’d love to have a discussion, they’re doing it all the time,” Well said, adding: “They need to look after their own people, their own economies. They’re always watching. Security and protection of that data is key.”