The US Air Force has launched the third wideband global SATCOM (WGS) military communications satellite into space, from a Delta IV rocket.

The new satellite replaces the defence satellite communication system, the Department of Defense’s two-decade-old satellite communications system and will provide high-capacity communications to the US military forces.

Air force secretary Michael Donley said the WGS provides a giant leap in communications bandwidth and technology.

“The launch of this satellite is another example of the air force bringing important and vital capabilities to our nation’s military around the world,” Donley said.

The second WGS, WGS-2, was launched atop an Atlas V rocket on 3 April 2009.

The WGS, which will be a constellation of five satellites, aims to supply service for military leaders to command and control their tactical forces.