Lockheed Martin [LMT] has delivered the first satellite in the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) program to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., where it will be prepared for a July 30 liftoff aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle.
“Shipment of the first AEHF satellite is testimony to a strong government and industry partnership focused on achieving total mission success on this vitally important program,” Col. Michael Sarchet, commander of the Protected Satellite Communications Group at the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, said. “AEHF will play an integral role in our national security space architecture, and we look forward to providing this new capability to the warfighter.”
The AEHF system is designed to provide the U.S. military and national leaders with global, protected, high capacity and secure communications.
The AEHF system is the successor to the five-satellite Milstar constellation and will provide significantly improved global, highly secure, protected, survivable communications for all warfighters serving U.S. national security. The governments of Canada, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom participate in the AEHF program as international partners and will have access to the communications capability of AEHF.
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 faster data rates will permit transmission of tactical military communications, such as high-quality real-time video and quick access to battlefield maps and targeting data.
“Lockheed Martin is extremely proud of this significant program milestone,” Mike Davis, Lockheed Martin’s AEHF vice president said. “This satellite will provide substantially improved protected communications capabilities for the warfighter, and we look forward to achieving mission success for our customer.”
The second AEHF spacecraft (SV-2) has completed Final Integrated System Test that verified all spacecraft interfaces, demonstrated full functionality and evaluated satellite performance and is now preparing for Intersegment testing to ensure the spacecraft is ready for flight.
The third AEHF satellite, SV-3, has completed acoustic testing, one of several critical environmental tests that validate the overall satellite design, quality of workmanship and survivability during space vehicle launching and on-orbit operations. SV-2 and SV-3 are on track for launch readiness in 2011.
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 and system manager, with Northrop Grumman [NOC] Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, Calif., as the payload provider.
“Assured communications for our military services is absolutely essential wherever they may be deployed,” Stuart Linsky, vice president, Satellite Communications, for Northrop Grumman said. “Capabilities provided by AEHF will give more warfighters access to the protected communications they need.”
Lockheed Martin is currently under contract to provide three AEHF satellites and the Mission Control Segment. The program has begun advanced procurement of long-lead components for a fourth AEHF satellite.