CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., 5 May 2012. The U.S. Air Force launched the second Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) military communication satellite, built by a Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] team, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.
The first AEHF satellite was launched in 2010 after a four year delay caused by the National Security Agency not delivering cryptographic equipment in time for the launch schedule. The AEHF satellites will provide improved communications for warfighters and will be operated by the 4th Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. AEHF will also serve international partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
A single AEHF satellite provides greater total capacity than the entire Milstar constellation. Individual user data rates will be increased five-fold, permitting transmission of military communications, such as video, battlefield maps and targeting data. In addition to its tactical mission, AEHF also provides the communications links to national leaders including presidential conferencing.
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The AEHF team includes the U.S. Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the AEHF prime contractor, space and ground segments provider as well as system integrator, with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, Calif., as the payload provider.
Lockheed Martin is currently under contract to provide four AEHF satellites and the Mission Control Segment. The program has begun advanced procurement of long-lead components for the fifth and sixth AEHF satellites as well.