Lockheed Martin Space Systems has received a contract modification for the production of two additional Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) military communications satellite systems for the US Air Force (USAF).
Awarded by the Los Angeles Air Force Base, the $1.9bn contract covers the development and delivery of the fifth and sixth AEHF satellites to the air force.
Lockheed Martin Protected Communications area vice president Mark Calassa was quoted by Defense News as saying in a statement that the contract reaffirms the government's trust in the company's ability in affordable delivery of AEHF satellites to address requirements of the strategic and tactical operators worldwide.
''As protected and resilient satellite communications become increasingly vital to global security, the AEHF program has developed into an indispensable element of the nation's military space architecture,'' Calassa added.
The AEHF are the next generation of protected military satellite communications satellites designed to deliver enhanced global, survivable, protected communications for the US warfighters and its allied militaries, including the UK, Canada and Netherlands.
Lockheed has manufactured and delivered two AEHF satellites as part of a contract awarded by USAF for production of four AEHF satellites along with a mission control segment.
The initial two AEHF satellites were successfully launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US, in August 2010 and May 2012, while the third is being prepared for launch in September 2013.
Manufacturing work under the latest contract is scheduled to be carried out at the company's facilities in Sunnyvale and El Segundo, California, US, with an estimated completion date of January 2022.
Led by Lockheed, the AEHF team includes the US Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate and Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.
Image: An artist's impression of the first advanced extremely high frequency satellite in orbit. Photo: File image.