PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.: Air Force Space Command officials, in partnership with Lockheed Martin representatives, unveiled a one-quarter scale model of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite here April 1 during a ceremony in the AFSPC headquarters building.
“It is phenomenally important to us and the warfighting team to get these satellites on orbit and what we have here today is a good start,” said Gen. C. Robert Kehler, AFSPC commander.
The AEHF system is a follow-on to the Milstar Satellite Communications system, augmenting and improving on the capabilities of Milstar, and expanding the Military Satellite Communications architecture to enable transformational communications and network-centric warfare.
“This is important … this is a great first step and I appreciate all the hard work to get the model to us and to donate it to us,” said General Kehler.
The AEHF satellite will provide communications connectivity across the spectrum of mission areas including land, air and naval warfare; special operations; strategic nuclear operations; strategic defense; theater missile defense; and space operations and intelligence.
“We are delighted to provide this satellite model to our customers at Peterson Air Force Base,” said Mr. Kevin Bilger, vice president and general manager of Global Communications Systems at Lockheed Martin. “Our partnership with the U.S. Air Force on the Advanced EHF program is a source of genuine pride for our company.”
The AEHF system will provide global, secure, survivable satellite communications allowing the National Security Council members and unified combatant commanders to control their tactical and strategic forces at all levels of conflict and support the attainment of information superiority.
“We are on the right pathway with Advanced EHF #1,” said General Kehler. “There are very few satellite capabilities that are directly related to presidential guidance … two of those are constant global coverage missile warning and protected communications … that’s how important this is. Nothing else that we do has that level of attention in terms of the specific requirements we are meeting, so this is a big deal to bring AEHF #1 to orbit.”
The first AEHF satellite is currently scheduled to launch during the last quarter of 2010.
“Celebration will begin next year when we are able to watch this go to orbit successfully and then we turn it over for warfighting use and help our strategic users from the president all the way down to the tactical users make the best use of this new capability. I’m looking forward to those days,” exclaimed General Kehler.
Once on orbit, the AEHF satellite will provide the warfighter a ten-fold increase in communications capability over Milstar.
“We look forward to fielding this protected Advanced EHF communications capability and contributing to your ongoing mission success,” said Mr. Bilger.
“With Lockheed Martin in the lead, Northrup Grumman as their close partner, with the great team of United Launch Alliance and what they’re going to deliver for us in terms of a launch vehicle and a ride to orbit, with the team on the ground that supports all of this and with the operational team that eventually accepts this new satellite for operational use and warfighting application … we will succeed,” stated General Kehler.
“I appreciate this team,” he said. “The country appreciates this team. The country is reliant on this team to bring this satellite to fruition, to get it through the rest of its testing envelope and to put it on orbit.”