“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,” says Michael Cacheiro, Lockheed Martin vice president of protected communications.
Lockheed Martin built and tested the fourth AEHF satellite in Sunnyvale, California, before shipping it for launch. Two other satellites are in production.
“We offer powerful end-to-end systems so that more operational users can have assured connectivity in contested environments,” Cachierio continues. “Four AEHF satellites in orbit means protected global connectivity for those who need it most, from the president to deployed soldiers.”
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.
A single AEHF satellite provides greater total capacity than the entire legacy five-satellite Milstar constellation. The satellite enables military satellite communications (SATCOM) with real-time video, battlefield maps, and targeting data, boosted by a five-fold increase in individual user data rates.
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, officials say.
The system also serves international partners, including Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
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, California, facility.
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