A single Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite has more capacity than the entire constellation it replaces.
The launch was originally scheduled for June 27, but has now been postponed to July 9 due to a vehicle battery failure, which was discovered during the satellite’s final processing. A technical team is tasked with replacing and evaluating the battery on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket before it carries the AEHF to orbit.
The communications satellite, developed by Lockheed Martin, will provide secure and jam-resistant communications for the US military’s ground, sea, and air platforms. The system will also serve allied partners such as Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
The AEHF constellation will be comprised of six satellites, replacing the five-satellite Milstar constellation system. According to Lockheed Martin, a single AEHF satellite offers more capacity than the entire Milstar constellation it replaces. With five-times the data rate of the Milstar satellite, transmissions will include tactical military communications, such as real-time video, battlefield maps, and targeting data.