Major Satcom, Ready to Ship



“This reflects the Air Force’s strong commitment to providing superior protected satellite communications capabilities for the war fighter.” That’s what Steve Tatum wrote in response to the news of the USAF’s pending request for $6.5 billion to get the Advanced EHF program into space. The first one launched in September:

The Air Force said it will request four years of funds totaling $6.5 billion for a Lockheed Martin Corp. military communications program that plans to launch its first satellite in September after six years of delays.

The funding request for fiscal years 2012-2015 will follow $598 million sought for fiscal 2011, according to an e-mail from Gary Payton, the Air Force’s top civilian for space programs. The six-satellite program is budgeted at a total of $9.9 billion.

The request, part of the Pentagon’s current five-year budget plan, reflects the Air Force moving forward with a program endorsed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates now that delays and technical problems have been worked out.

Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin and its top subcontractor, Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman Corp., have been awarded contracts to build the first three satellites. They may get contracts for a fourth that the Air Force budgeted for next year and two more planned by 2014. The Air Force budget figures show that the service may buy a seventh satellite starting in fiscal 2015.

The Advanced EHF program calls for six satellites, capable of withstanding shocks from a nuclear attack, to allow secure communications between top commanders including the president. It also would provide transmission of tactical communications such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data.


Good day at the office for Lockheed Martin (and subcontractor Northrup Grumman). How "advanced" is this system? Dude.

The B-2 is being upgraded, using fiber connections — inside the aircraft.  A single AEHF spacecraft will provide more capacity than the entire Milstar system currently on-orbit — combined.

Watch this…