April 29, 2019 – Lockheed Martin announced the successful completion of AEHF-4 spacecraft on-orbit test and available for Satellite Control Availability (SCA).
The AEHF-4 on-orbit test (A4 OOT) successfully activated the payload, built by its major subcontractor, Northrop Grumman, and demonstrated that AEHF-4 met all of its requirements. A4 OOT was the first ever test to have all six AEHF operational terminals communicating over XDR. The terminal types include AEHF SMART-T, FAB-T, MMPU, NMT, Global ASNT and ACF-IC2.
“This is a major milestone to celebrate with our customers at Space and Missiles Systems Center (SMC) the U.S. Air Force and our teammates Northrop Grumman, L3 Communications and Aerojet. As we turn our focus on launching AEHF-5 in June, one month early, I want to congratulate everyone involved in completing this one of a kind, high-performance network in space. This is a tremendous accomplishment for the AEHF program and I am proud of the team for consistently exceeding the customer’s mission needs,” said Mike Cacheiro, vice president of Protected Communications for Military Space.
The addition of AEHF-4 to the constellation provides a new capability of global extended data rate (XDR) communications. XDR communications provides data rates to its users five times higher than medium data rate (MDR) and 350 times higher than low data rate (LDR) communications. Milstar, the predessor to AEHF, uses both LDR and MDR communication modes to directly support the warfighter.
This was the last step before control authority of the satellite is handed over to the U.S. Air Force SMC where it will join the combined AEHF-Milstar constellation.
The AEHF constellation provides global, survivable, highly secure and protected communications for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. The jam-resistant system also serves international partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.