USAF’s fourth AEHF protected communication satellite placed in orbit

18 October 2018 (Last Updated October 18th, 2018 09:38)

Lockheed Martin has confirmed that the US Air Force’s (USAF) fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) protected communication satellite has been placed into geostationary transfer orbit.

USAF’s fourth AEHF protected communication satellite placed in orbit
The fourth AEHF satellite prior to launch. Credit: Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Lockheed Martin has confirmed that the US Air Force’s (USAF) fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) protected communication satellite has been placed into geostationary transfer orbit.

The communication satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V 551 rocket.

The AEHF system is designed to provide highly secure and protected communications for strategic command and tactical troops operating on ground, sea and air platforms.

The satellites have the capability to transmit real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data, as well as ensure anti-jam, always-on connectivity.

“Lockheed Martin is also required to supply the fifth and sixth satellites and upgraded the mission planning ground system as part of a contract with the USAF.”

Lockheed Martin noted that the satellite will now undergo a testing phase before being delivered to the USAF.

Lockheed Martin Protected Communication Systems vice-president Mike Cacheiro said: “It’s good to return with our mission partners to see the culmination of expertise, skill and partnership that we have worked diligently toward to make this AEHF launch a success.

“This is a substantial milestone for AEHF, and as we look ahead, we continue to improve and upgrade this mission to deliver these vital communications capabilities to the airforce.”

Lockheed Martin is also required to supply the fifth and sixth satellites and upgraded the mission planning ground system as part of a contract with the USAF. The company assembles all the AEHF satellites at its Sunnyvale facility in California, US.

The company provided payload system engineering, mission control ground software, solar arrays, and the LM A2100 spacecraft bus for the satellite.