First advanced extremely high frequency satellite launched successfully
The first Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Air Force was successfully launched today from Cape Canaveral aboard an Atlas V rocket provided by the United Launch Alliance.
The satellite is the most technologically advanced military communications satellite ever developed and will provide significantly improved global, survivable, highly secure, protected, communications for warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms.
“This morning’s successful launch is testimony to the dedication, skill and operational excellence of the entire government-industry AEHF team,” said Col. Michael Sarchet, commander of the Protected Satellite Communications Group at the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center.
“For over 15 years, the Milstar constellation has served as the backbone of secure military communications, helping the military operate in a secure mode without concern of enemy interference. AEHF will significantly enhance our national security space architecture, and we eagerly anticipate providing this new capability to the warfighter.”
A single AEHF satellite will provide greater total capacity than the entire Milstar constellation currently on-orbit. Individual user data rates can be up to five times higher than Milstar’s highest speed. The higher data rates will permit transmission of tactical military communications, such as higher-quality real-time video and faster access to battlefield maps and targeting data.
In addition to its tactical mission, AEHF will also provide the critical survivable, protected, and endurable communications to the National Command Authority including presidential conferencing in all levels of conflict. The AEHF constellation will also serve international partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
“Our number one priority is delivering mission success for our customer,” said Mike Davis, Lockheed Martin’s AEHF vice president. “The AEHF system will vastly improve battlefield communications, delivering secure, real-time, connectivity to a greater number forces in the field, and their commanders anywhere on the globe. We look forward to successfully executing the next steps necessary to making this national asset operational for the warfighter.”
The AEHF team is led by the U.S. Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the AEHF prime contractor, space and ground segments provider as well as system integrator, with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, Calif., as the payload provider.
“We are proud to be part of the U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin team that has worked so hard to launch this capability vital to our warfighters,” said Stuart Linsky, vice president, Protected SatCom Programs, for Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems sector.
Lockheed Martin is currently under contract to provide three Advanced EHF satellites and command control system to its customer, the Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing at the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles, Calif. A production contract for a fourth AEHF spacecraft is expected to be awarded later this year.
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