Boeing [BA] said it successfully demonstrated end-to-end communication using a terminal from the Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T) system and the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite.

This first on-orbit test with the AEHF SV-1 satellite accomplished both extended-data-rate (XDR) and low-data-rate (LDR) communications using the FAB-T system, the company said in a statement.

The demonstration is the latest development in the FAB-T competition between prime contractor Boeing and Raytheon [RTN], which bid on the FAB-T alternate source contract. The Air Force issued its alternate source request for proposals (RFP) as a hedge against Boeing not being able to provide the capability the service needs.

The on-orbit testing, conducted late 2011 through February at Boeing’s Systems Integration Lab in Huntington Beach, Calif., involved a Block 8 FAB-T terminal and the on-orbit AEHF SV-1 satellite. As part of the testing, FAB-T acquired backward compatible LDR and XDR uplinks and downlinks. The terminal then logged onto the AEHF satellite and exchanged backward compatible LDR and XDR data with the Single Channel Anti-Jam Man Portable and Secure Mobile Anti-Jam Reliable Tactical Terminal used by the Army, the Navy Multiband Terminal and Follow-On Terminal and the Air Force Minuteman Minimum Essential Emergency Communications Network Program Upgrade terminal.

Boeing’s next big milestone in the FAB-T program will be the first over-the-air testing of FAB-T with the second AEHF satellite (SV2) during the August/September timeframe, according to a company spokesman.

“This will also involve a crosslink test between the two AEHF satellites and will include other terminals such as the Army Secure Mobile Anti-Jam Reliable Tactical Terminal and the Navy Multiband Terminal,” Boeing spokesman Matthew Billingsley said in an email. “Following these test activities will be the final testing with the first AEHF satellite. This test will include Air Force ReportBack (AFRB), Navy ReportBack and Emergency Action Messages with end-to-end encryption.”

The demonstration also included AEHF Calibration Facility-Interim Command and Control terminal testing, during which FAB-T successfully transmitted and received data at eight megabits per second (Mbps). The FAB-T system also demonstrated terminal rekey and rekey requests via crosslink, as well as Air Force report-back capability.

Since the initial test with the on-orbit AEHF satellite, the FAB-T program has demonstrated, via a satellite simulator, 24 Mbps receive capability, Navy report-back capability and XDR Air Force report-back capability.

When operational, FAB-T will provide the Air Force with protected and secure wideband satellite communications to support command and control of U.S. nuclear forces. The system’s advanced XDR capability offers Internet-like functionality and improved speed compared with earlier system and software.