The payload is currently undergoing space vehicle level integration, ahead of its launch planned for 2018.
Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems communications systems vice-president Cyrus Dhalla said: “This milestone for AEHF exemplifies Northrop Grumman’s continued support to building satellite communications systems that will provide critical, reliable, protected communications to the nation’s warfighters and to our international partners.”
The AEHF satellite payloads contain features that protect against a wide range of threats, such as anti-jamming, low-probability of detection and intercept, rapid recovery during a nuclear event, and the ability to operate through scintillation.
The payloads are also said to reduce risk from physical attack to ground systems and provide protection from cyber-attack.
The AEHF satellite provides greater total capacity than the entire 5-satellite Milstar constellation, with individual user data rates up to 10 times greater than seen on the Milstar system, Northrop stated.
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The higher data rates will facilitate two-way, jam-resistant transmission of tactical military communication such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data.
The AEHF is designed to provide survivable, protected and endurable communications to the National Command Authority including senior leader conferencing in all levels of conflict.
Northrop delivered payload modules for the first, second, third and fourth AEHF satellites in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2014 respectively.
Image: The AEHF satellite. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corporation.