Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC] delivered the payload module for the third Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) military communications satellite, the company announced today.

That Friday arrival makes three consecutive early deliveries, Northrop stated.

The third communications payload module arrived 22 days ahead of schedule at the Sunnyvale, Calif., facilities of Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT], the AEHF prime contractor.

Lockheed now will begin mating the payload module with its A2100 satellite bus and other space vehicle components, followed by environmental and acceptance testing of the fully integrated space vehicle.

The payload module consists of the complete set of processing, routing and control hardware and software that perform the satellite’s communications function, including critical features to protect the communications against interception or jamming threats.

Technologies, techniques and flight hardware proven on the current Milstar constellation have been leveraged for the AEHF. According to Northrop, that tactic provides a low- risk path for increasing functionality for the AEHF successor, the Transformational Satellite Communications (TSAT) system.

Lockheed Martin currently is under contract to provide three Advanced EHF satellites and the Mission Control System to its customer, the Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing, located at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. The program is in the process of adding a fourth spacecraft to the planned constellation.

One Advanced EHF satellite will provide greater total capacity than the entire Milstar constellation currently on orbit. Individual user data rates will be five times improved. The higher data rates will permit two-way, jam-resistant transmission of tactical military communication such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data.

In addition to its critical tactical mission, Advanced EHF also will provide the critical survivable, protected and endurable communications to National Command Authority including presidential conferencing in all levels of conflict.