The second Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-2) military communication satellite, built by a Lockheed Martin team for the U.S. Air Force, was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.
AEHF builds on the success of the Lockheed Martin-built Milstar constellation currently on-orbit by providing vastly improved global, survivable, highly secure, protected communications for warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. AEHF will also serve international partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
A single AEHF satellite provides greater total capacity than the entire five-satellite Milstar constellation. Individual user data rates will be increased five-fold, permitting transmission of tactical military communications, such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data. In addition to its tactical mission, AEHF also provides the critical survivable, protected, and endurable communications links to national leaders including presidential conferencing in all levels of conflict.
“AEHF is integral to our national security space architecture, providing significantly improved protected communications capabilities for both tactical and strategic users,” said Kevin Bilger, Lockheed Martin's vice president and general manager of Global Communications Systems. “Our team is focused on performing a timely and efficient satellite checkout to deliver mission success for our customer.”
The AEHF team includes the U.S. Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate 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, space and ground segments provider as well as system integrator, with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, Calif., as the payload provider.
Lockheed Martin is currently under contract to provide four AEHF satellites and the Mission Control Segment. The program has begun advanced procurement of long-lead components for the fifth and sixth AEHF satellites.