Melville-based Comtech Communications Corp. sent the besieged Eastern European country...

Melville-based Comtech Communications Corp. sent the besieged Eastern European country an undisclosed number of COMET troposcatter sophisticated wireless communications systems. Credit: Comtech Telecommunications

A Long Island defense contractor has donated sophisticated wireless communications gear to Ukraine after a request by that country's special forces.

Melville-based Comtech Communications Corp. sent the besieged Eastern European country an undisclosed number of COMET troposcatter systems designed for portability and security, a company spokesman said.  

The spokesman, citing "security" reasons, declined to provide the value of the shipment, but said COMET systems can cost several hundred thousand dollars per unit, depending on the configuration.

The so-called "over-the-horizon" systems weigh about 50 pounds and can be set up by one person in about 15 minutes, according to Comtech's website. Troposcatter systems send powerful signals that can bend over mountains or bounce off the atmosphere, eliminating the need for a satellite link.

The COMET systems, which also are used by U.S. Special Forces and the militaries of other NATO members, are designed to be secure and difficult to jam.

Earlier this month, the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency warned operators of satellite networks to be alert to potential hacking threats and to upgrade security.

"Unlike satellite systems … the COMET is more secure, is more difficult to jam, and has a low probability of intercept," the company spokesman said.

"We appreciate that our response is a small contribution in the face of an enormous crisis, but we are honored to have an opportunity to play whatever role we can in helping restore peace to this area of the world,” Michael Porcelain, president and chief executive of Comtech, said in a statement. 

The COMET system is not the only U.S. communications system provided to Ukraine forces.

Soon after Russia invaded on Feb. 24, a Ukraine official requested that Starlink, a satellite communications system operated by Elon Musk's SpaceX, activate its service in Ukraine.

The Starlink service reportedly is being used by Ukrainian forces to send targeting data from airborne drones to ground artillery.  

In addition to military uses, the troposcatter systems can be sent to disaster areas where communications infrastructure has been damaged.

Comtech has been working on troposcatter technology for more than 50 years, according to a company website.

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