Northrop Grumman Corp. has completed integrating all electronics units of the payload module for the third Advanced Extremely High frequency (EHF) military communications satellite. The company is under contract to provide three communications payloads to advanced EHF prime contractor Lockheed Martin, Sunnyvale, CA.

The Advanced EHF system will provide global, highly secure, protected, survivable communications to warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. Integrated with Lockheed Martin’s A2100 space vehicle structure, the payload module consists of the complete set of radio frequency, processing, routing and control hardware and software that perform the satellite’s protected communications function. The equipment includes approximately 20 electronics units and approximately 500,000 lines of software code.

“The successful integration of the third payload module keeps us right on track for delivering this payload on or ahead of schedule, as we did for the first two payload modules,” noted Scott Willoughby, program director of Advanced EHF payloads for Northrop Grumman’s Space Technology sector. “This consistent performance is a testament to the experience this team has developed over generations of protected MilSatcom systems.”

Advanced EHF is the successor to the current Milstar system. Milstar is the only protected satellite communications system operating in geosynchronous orbit. It alone provides US warfighters and leaders with assured, global communications in the face of jamming and other threats. One AEHF satellite will provide greater total capacity than the entire Milstar constellation. Individual user data will be five times better. The higher data rates will permit transmission of tactical military communication such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data. In addition to its critical tactical mission, AEHF will also provide the survivable, assured communications to National Command Authority in all levels of conflict. Lockheed Martin is currently under contract to provide three Advanced EHF satellites and the Mission Control System to the US Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing, located at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA. The program is also in the process of producing long-lead items for a potential fourth spacecraft.