Space

August 6, 2018
 

Powerful communications satellites for U.S., allies shipped for launch

Lockheed Martin built and tested the fourth AEHF satellite in Sunnyvale, Calif., before shipping it for launch. Two other satellites are in production.

Lockheed Martin shipped the fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency military communications satellite July 27 to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., where it will be prepared for an October liftoff aboard an Atlas V rocket.

“Four AEHF satellites in orbit means protected global connectivity for those who need it most, from the president to deployed soldiers,” said Michael Cacheiro, Lockheed Martin vice president of Protected Communications. “We offer powerful end-to-end systems so that more operational users can have assured connectivity in contested environments. Delivering this fourth satellite in orbit will be critical to the Air Force, as it will connect all four satellites on orbit, forming a geostationary ring to provide uninterrupted global communications.”

AEHF communications are jam-proof and offer low probability of detection or interception, and the four-satellite constellation will be able to deliver that capability worldwide.

The satellite enables military communications with real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data, boosted by a five-fold increase in individual user data rates. This delivery comes at a time when more troops are on the cusp of using AEHF’s benefits with a new generation of terminals that will soon be available based on both DOD and commercial models.

The AEHF system provides vastly improved global, survivable, highly secure, protected communications for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. The system also serves international partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. A single AEHF satellite provides greater total capacity than the entire legacy five-satellite Milstar constellation.

Lockheed Martin is under contract to deliver six AEHF satellites and the Mission Control Segment. The first three AEHF satellites are on orbit, and AEHF-5 and -6 are progressing on schedule. All satellites are assembled at the company’s Sunnyvale, Calif., facility.




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