The Department of Defense's Advanced EHF satellite system, which will provide secure, high speed communications to the US and allied forces worldwide, is a step closer to reality, following EMS Technologies' successful demonstration and delivery of the engineering model of the beam-forming network (BFN) for the satellite's sophisticated antennas.

The engineering model, delivered ahead of schedule to Northrop Grumman Corp., replicates the size and performance of the actual flight unit, but contains some non-space-qualified parts. The BFN enables the satellite's highly sophisticated nulling antenna to form a shaped pattern on earth that "nulls," or cancels out, signals from jammers, while at the same time letting friendly users within the area of coverage communicate with the satellite. The nulling occurs autonomously, without command from earth.

"The BFN's performance met all critical requirements, making it the first major payload component to complete the critical design review milestone. Hardware development of other advanced EHF components is not far behind," said Clayton Kau, vice president of Northrop Grumman Space Technology and AEHF program manager.