Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
28 July 2015
Also Known As: Advanced Extremely High Frequency and Milstar III
Origin: United States of America
Lockheed Martin* and Northrop Grumman (*) lead contractor
Parent System: AEHF
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 28 July 2015
Total Production: 6
Total Cost: USD$14 billion
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Description: The Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF), originally known as the Milstar III, will provide anti-jam communications for command and control, intelligence dissemination, and precision attack. It will replace current Milstar orbital communications network. AEHF system will be fully compatible with legacy Milstar terminals in support of strategic and tactical warfighters.
AEHF satellites will provide over ten times current Milstar's capacity and six times higher data rate transfer than that of Milstar II satellites. According to US military assessment, Milstar network was a critical asset for US success in recent campaigns over Afghanistan and Iraq. AEHF will ensure US dominance during the first quarter of the 21st century.
The AEHF's phased array antenna is being developed by Northrop-Grumman. The phased array antenna will direct radio frequency beams electronically rather than moving reflectors mechanically. The steered agile beams will allow AEHF satellites to connect more areas simultaneously with highly protected channels and faster than Milstar. The uplink phased array antenna will connect the AEHF spacecraft with ground terminals, while minimizing jamming effects and the possibility of signal intercept by enemies.
The US Air Force plans to procure up to 5 AEHF satellites with the first satellite launch scheduled for 2007. AEHF will become the backbone of US military satellite communications network.
In November 2002 two of the planned Advanced EHF satellites were cancelled and the third satellite was delayed one year. FAB-T is the Command Post Terminal for the AEHF Satellite System and thus serves as a key component of the AEHF operations.
On September 20, 2004, Northrop-Grumman began testing of the nulling antenna for the AEHF program at the company's facilities in Redondo Beach, California. Nulling antennas are designed to defeat enemy jammers, thereby preventing service interruption to military users. The Northrop-Grumman uplink phased array antenna began testing in late September 2004.
The US Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $491 million contract to build the third AEHF spacecraft on January 31, 2005. The first sallite was placed into orbit in September 2010 and the constellation achieved intial operational on July 28, 2015.
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