The US Air Force’s (USAF) Advanced Extremely High Frequency-6 (AEHF-6) protected communications satellite has completed the on-orbit test (OOT) period.

Built by Lockheed Martin, the AEHF-6 was launched in March from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Complex 41 on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket with boosters attached.

Lockheed Martin protected communications mission area director Erik Daehler said: “Successful OOT demonstrates that all space vehicle performance requirements have been met and that we are on track for satellite control authority handover to space operations command before the end of the year.

“This is a great accomplishment for the industry-government team, bringing incredible capability for our warfighters.”

As part of the geostationary ring of ten satellites in the AEHF-MILSTAR constellation, the AEHF-6 satellite was the first mission launch for the US Space Force.

The fifth AEHF system was launched last year on 8 August on board ULA’s Atlas V rocket.

Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and the UK are also served by the AEHF system.

The satellite will provide strategic command and tactical troops across ground, sea and air platforms with survivable, secure and protected communications anywhere and anytime.

The six satellites have been developed and manufactured at Lockheed Martin’s satellite production facility situated in Sunnyvale, California. The company is the prime contractor for the AEHF system.

The AEHF team is overseen by the Production Corps, Geosynchronous Earth Orbit/Polar Division, at the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, at Los Angeles Air Force Base.