One of the billionaire’s products is currently Ukraine’s only communication system on the front lines in the war against Russia.
Elon Musk has the Product of the Year 2022.
This product is Starlink, the secure satellite internet access service, offered by his aerospace company, SpaceX. The service is used particularly by civilians in areas under attack by Russia, and in areas where infrastructure has been destroyed.
Government officials and armed forces employ the service on the ground because it’s secure.
SpaceX’s satellites are also helping Ukrainian military drones destroy Russian tanks and army trucks. The drones are equipped with anti-tank grenades to be launched at targets.
The Drone War and Musk’s Red Line
Faced with Russian attacks against Ukrainian infrastructure, the Ukrainian armed forces on the front have come to rely on Starlink as their key means of communication.
“Starlink is the primary communications system of the Ukrainian army on the war front. If anyone else wants this job, please be my guest…” Musk posted on Twitter on Oct. 14.
This service has thrust Musk into the center of the geopolitical scene. And in turn this exposure led the billionaire to play diplomat. He proposed a plan to put an end to the Russia-Ukraine war, which has lasted for almost nine months and is escalating.
The richest man in the world fears that this conflict will turn into World War III, with the possibility that nuclear weapons could be deployed.
This is how he explained why his plan asked Ukraine to abandon Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, and not to join NATO and the European Union, two organizations that Russian President Vladimir Putin considers a threat to his country’s sovereignty.
Involvement in geopolitical affairs, however, has a limit for the billionaire. And he just drew that red line.
Musk says he’s not interested in building weapons of any kind. Even war drones do not interest him, despite the technological advances of Tesla, which is developing Optimus, a humanoid robot.
The billionaire made this clear on Twitter.
He started by posting a comment on the use of killer drones in the Russian-Ukrainian war.
“Drone War I,” the billionaire posted on Oct. 18, with an article from the Independent, a British newspaper, which explains that the killer drones were “vying for supremacy” in the conflict.
Musk Asks ‘Should I Make Weapons?’ and Answers
“In Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, killer drones have cemented their reputation as a potent, cost-effective weapon that can seek out and destroy targets while simultaneously spreading the kind of terror that can fray the resolve of soldiers and civilians alike,” The Independent wrote.
“They’re also quickly surpassing missiles as the remote weapon of choice. Known as ‘the poor man’s cruise missile,’ the flying death machines can flood any combat theater much more cheaply.”
In 2020, Musk had already warned that drone killers were going to become the future of war.
“Locally autonomous drone warfare is where the future will be,” the tech tycoon said in a fireside chat, during the Air Force Association’s 2020 Air Warfare Symposium in February 2020. “It is just what the future will be; it’s autonomous drone warfare.”
Back to the present, and it’s in this context that on Oct. 18 a Twitter user asked Musk whether Tesla was going to manufacture a war drone.
“They say Turkish one’s are best, Will there be a Tesla drone?” the user posted.
To avoid confusion, the billionaire rephrased the user’s question in his answer before answering it.
“Should I make weapons?” Musk said. “Ideally, not.”
The billionaire’s statement led to many comments from fans, endorsing his desire not to produce weapons.
“No,” commented one of his fans.
“A BIG No!!!” added another Twitter user.
“Nah Tesla (and SpaceX et al) will maximize the economic power of those countries that invite technology in and allow it to flourish. Catalyzing economic development is a much more potent (and higher leverage) defense against the forces of entropy (than building a better bomb),” elaborated one user.
“Not war drones! Just for filming and light shows!☮️💫” said another Twitter user.