The US Air Force’s (USAF) advanced extremely high-frequency (AEHF) system has reached initial operational capability (IOC), USAF Space Command commander general John Hyten has declared.
The AEHF system is a series of four military communication satellites planned to replace the existing Milstar system.
It is designed to provide extremely high-frequency (EHF) range uplink/crosslink capabilities and super high-frequency (SHF) range communications.
SMC commander lieutenant general Samuel Greaves said: "Achieving AEHF IOC is a great accomplishment for the team.
"We’re proud to deliver an unparalleled leap forward in protected communications capability for both our nation’s senior leaders and also our warfighters in the field."
With this new development, the 4th Space Operations Squadron will be able to operate the AEHF system.
The IOC is result of collaboration between Headquarters Air Force Space Command, the Space and Missile Systems Center, Army, Navy and Lockheed Martin as well as Northrop Grumman.
The system will provide military communications and jointly serve armed forces of the US and international partners, including Netherlands, the UK and Canada.
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.
The first spacecraft, AEHF 1, was launched in August 2010, while the AEHF-2 and AEHF-3 were launched in May 2012 and September 2013 respectively.
Image: An artistic impression of advanced extremely high-frequency satellite in Orbit. Photo: courtesy photo / Space and Missile Systems Center.