A Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC)-built payload launched aboard the third Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite Sept. 18 is on a course to make protected military space communications more resilient once it reaches a designated orbit and is integrated into a constellation.
"We congratulate Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance and the U.S. Air Force for the successful launch of AEHF Flight 3," said Stuart Linsky, vice president, communication programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "The government and industry AEHF team will now turn its attention to a carefully planned series of maneuvers to get the spacecraft into a geosynchronous orbit."
Following that milestone, the Flight 3 satellite will be turned on and the payload activated to begin an extensive process of testing and ultimately cross-linking it with satellites to the east and west, forming an eight-satellite "ring of protection" around the Earth for secure and assured communications with military users, Linsky said.
AEHF is the successor to the existing five-satellite Milstar constellation and will provide global, highly secure, protected, survivable communications for warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. Northrop Grumman has provided all payloads for AEHF satellites to the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif.
"A fully operational third AEHF satellite will make the current protected satellite communications architecture more resilient by adding much-needed anti-jam capacity for more users, as well as more coverage with new capabilities," Linsky said. "Once it is integrated into a constellation, all capabilities will become available, including the new Extended Data Rate waveform that provides up to five times more data through-put than the Milstar waveform."
"The AEHF payloads we provide are an innovative blend of advanced, on-board digital signal processing hardware, firmware and software that provide high throughput with flexibility for evolution," Linsky added. "Extremely high frequencies, onboard digital processing and highly directional antennas protect users from jamming and intercept, ensuring secure, reliable communications for the warfighter."
The payload is the mission-specific module containing the complete set of processing, routing and control hardware and software that perform the satellite's communications function. As the most sophisticated ever built, AEHF payloads also house all critical features needed to protect against interception or jamming threats.
Northrop Grumman delivered the AEHF Flight 3 payload in February 2009, ahead of schedule and before it was actually needed for mating with a Lockheed Martin A2100 satellite bus and other space vehicle components.
The AEHF system provides vastly improved global, survivable, highly secure, protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms.
Source: Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC)
Date: Sep 18, 2013