AHEF

The US Air Force (USAF) has received the second advanced extremely high-frequency (AEHF-2) military communications satellite from Lockheed Martin at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, US.

The AEHF satellite has been transferred aboard a C-5 Galaxy aircraft for its final preparations of scheduled launch, aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle on 27 April 2012.

Developed by Lockheed, the AEHF satellite is the most technologically advanced military communications satellite to date.

The next-generation military strategic and tactical relay system consists of a ground mission control centre and user terminals, while the payload consists of processors, antennas, radio frequency subsystems and crosslink.

The satellite will provide improved global, survivable, highly secure, protected, communications for warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms.

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A single AEHF satellite will provide increased total capacity to provide improved higher-quality real-time video and quicker access to battlefield maps and targeting data than the entire five-satellite Milstar constellation currently on-orbit.

The AEHF will also provide the critical survivable, protected and endurable communications to the National Command Authority including presidential conferencing in all levels of conflict.

Lockheed is currently building four AEHF satellites and the mission control segment and has started long-lead components procurement for the construction of fifth and sixth AEHF satellites.

The AEHF team includes the USAF Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing, Lockheed, the AEHF prime contractor, responsible for overall space system manager and the Northrop Grumman will deliver communications payloads for the satellites.

The first satellite, USA-214, was successfully launched by an Atlas V 531 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, US on 14 August 2010.

Image: USAF’s second AEHF satellite readies for upcoming launch on 27 April 2012. Photo: Lockheed Martin.