Double Buy for AEHF Satellites
Lockheed Martin Awarded $1.94 Billion Contract for Secure, Protected Military Communications
One of the world’s most modern and secure communication systems is growing with a new contract from the U.S. Air Force.
The service awarded Lockheed Martin a $1.94 billion fixed-price contract to deliver the fifth and sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites for protected military satellite communications.
The AEHF system provides vastly improved global, survivable, highly secure, protected communications for tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. AEHF satellites allow users to share intelligence during all threat conditions, even after a nuclear attack. The system also serves international partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
“This production contract affirms the government’s confidence in Lockheed Martin’s ability to deliver these spacecraft affordably and efficiently to meet the burgeoning demand from strategic and tactical users worldwide,” said Mark Calassa, Protected Communications vice president at Lockheed Martin's Space Systems Company.
A single AEHF satellite provides greater total capacity than the entire legacy 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 provides critical, survivable, protected and endurable communications links to national leaders - including presidential conferencing in all levels of conflict.
The contract also reflects the program’s evolution into a fixed-price structure, which is part of a larger cost savings plan.
“As we transition into production, we have several affordability initiatives in place jointly with the Air Force that are already reducing program costs,” Calassa said. “We have shifted from cost-plus to fixed-price contracting, which allows our government customer to limit its risk, while still targeting cost reduction. Additionally, with the Air Force acquiring two satellites in bulk, we can significantly reduce costs by achieving economies of scale.”
Lockheed Martin is now under contract to deliver six AEHF satellites and the Mission Control Segment. Both AEHF-1 and AEHF-2 are on orbit. AEHF-3 is slated for a September 2013 launch, and AEHF-4 is progressing on schedule. The fifth and sixth satellites will be assembled at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, Calif., facility.