Now a critical element of U.S. national security, military satellite communications delivers vital connectivity to armed forces around the globe, making warfighters safer and more effective.
The Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system provides vastly improved global, survivable, protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. The jam-resistant system also serves international partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
AEHF is a case study in cost-reduction. Through a continuing focus on affordability via fixed pricing, streamlined engineering teams, improved manufacturing and economies of scale, we lowered satellite cost by more than 35 percent in AEHF’s most recent block buy. In 2014, the Department of Defense honored the U.S. Air Force AEHF Program with the David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award for saving $1.6 billion from initial government estimates.
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 assures the critical protected communications links for national leaders, such as the President and Joint Chiefs of Staff, in all levels of conflict.
Lockheed Martin is currently under contract to deliver six AEHF satellites and the Mission Control Segment. The program has begun production of the fifth and sixth AEHF satellites, and initial operational capability of the system is planned for mid-2015.
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.
For AEHF, Lockheed Martin is building on its proven record of providing progressively advanced spacecraft for protected, narrowband and wideband military satellite communications. Lockheed Martin built the legacy Milstar protected communications satellites, as well as the Defense Satellite Communications Systems (DSCS) wideband communications spacecraft for the U.S. Air Force. Lockheed Martin is also the prime contractor on the U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), next-generation narrowband tactical satellite communications system designed to significantly improve ground communications for U.S. forces on the move.