GEOINT

Check out begins on third AEHF military satellite

The U.S. Air Force successfully launched the third Advanced Extremely High Frequency military communication satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., early on Sept. 18.

Lockheed Martin, the satellite’s builder, said it confirmed signal acquisition 51 minutes after launch.

 AEHF satellites provide global, highly secure communications for strategic command and tactical warfighters from all three services. The AEHF constellation replaces the Milstar communications network. Lockheed said a single AEHF satellite provides greater total capacity than the entire five-satellite Milstar constellation. For example, AEHF is capable of providing real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data.

The first AEHF satellite was launched on August 2010. AEHF-2 reached orbit in May 2012. The launches of AEHF-4 through 6 remain on schedule, according to Lockheed Martin.

“AEHF is functioning well in tests, and allies are connecting to the system for the first time, Mark Calassa, vice president of protected communication systems at Lockheed Martin, said in a statement. Canadian, Dutch and U.K. forces will also connect to the AEHF constellation. 

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