The UK has officially joined the US, Canada and the Netherlands in using the Lockheed Martin-produced Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) protected communications satellite system.
The first connection was made by the UK in Febraury this year and since then testing has been conducted with both shore variants of the Navy Multiband Terminal (NMT) at Colerne Airfield, Wiltshire and the NMT ship variant from Telemetry & Command Station in Oakhanger, Hampshire.
The addition of the fourth partner nation follows after Canada made its first successful connection in May 2013 and was joined two months later by the Netherlands.
All partner nations also participated in the US-led coalition testing in April to validate interconnectivity of the system for their crucial transmissions, from commanders-in-chief to troops in the field.
Lockheed Martin Protected Communication Systems vice-president Mark Calassa said: "AEHF is a keystone in global security. It is the only system that can provide highly-protected communications, circumventing our adversaries’ jammers in most wartime operations.
"AEHF not only delivers higher-bandwidth communications for the UK, it makes communications with allies faster and easier. AEHF is showing it can handle the demands of protected coalition communications at high speeds, connecting nations with their own users and allied users across the globe."
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A follow-on to USAF’s Milstar system, the AEHF is the next-generation of protected military satellite communications system designed to provide enhanced global, survivable, protected communications for the US troops and its allied militaries, including the UK, Canada and Netherlands.
Equipped with phased array antennas that can block out potential jamming sources, the satellite provides critical survivable, protected and endurable communications links to national leaders, including presidential conferencing during all levels of conflict.
Lockheed is under contract to deliver six AEHF satellites and the mission control segment to USAF.
Image: The UK has joined the US, Canada and the Netherlands in testing AEHF. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.