Syrian forces capture US Satcom gear

By Grae Stafford  17/10/2013

Highly sophisticated U.S.-branded satellite communications equipment has been discovered in a Syrian rebel arms cache captured by Syrian Arab Army (SAA) forces.The report from Arabic RTV describes it as an ”American made communication systems” and the video shows branded Hughes products with “Assembled in the U.S.A.” inscribed on them.

A longtime military communications expert who requested anonymity told The Daily Caller the equipment seems to be a remote access array that is not classified or very valuable, although the model is not clear from the pictures.

“The equipment is for remote satellite internet access through HughesNet,” this expert told The DC.  “[It is] not classified or expensive…about $900 plus monthly access fee. If I had to guess, the equipment was provided to Syrian rebels by the agency and the Syrian military recovered the gear after overrunning a rebel command site.  If there was a classified piece, it would have been an encryption device that could have easily been removed.”

Hughes is a Maryland-based company that specializes in satellite broadband and communications systems. The hardware and systems it builds, and what appears to be depicted in the RTV video, are designed to provide high-speed voice and data communication in locations without a working infrastructure, such as after a natural disaster, or in a war zone.

Hughes sells a variety of different options and models to commercial, government and military buyers but they all work on the same principle. Once they have been connected to a power source they are able to connect to the internet via satellite. Some of the models provide basic internet. Others provide wifi to enable multiple devices to connect.