AEHF-6 completes the latest generation fleet for highly secure, high-capacity U.S. military telecommunications. A strategic and tactical asset for the United States.
Six secure, high-capacity satellites
The Advanced Extremely High Frequency-6 (AEHF-6) is the sixth and final satellite in the new generation of highly secure, high-capacity, global U.S. military communications satellites.
Their mission is to ensure, according to the U.S.
Department of Defense, "the survival of combatants at all levels of conflict," forming "the protected backbone of the DoD's satellite communications architecture.
These satellites, weighing more than 6 tons at launch, were built in California under Lockheed Martin's prime contractor, based on the militarized version of its A2100 commercial platform.
They were equipped with payloads supplied by Northrop Grumman.
AEHF-6 soon operational
Also designated USA 298, AEHF-6 was sent into geosynchronous transfer orbit on March 26 using a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 launcher deployed from the Cape Canaveral, Florida, military base.
The final stationing was completed in August, followed by several test links between the satellite and seven locations across the United States.
On October 29, AEHF-6 came under the control of the U.S. Space Operations Command, after being managed by the Space Force's Space and Missile Systems Center.
A new series of tests is still to be conducted by the end of the year, prior to operational entry into service.
"The success of the On-Orbit Test (OOT) demonstrates that all performance requirements for the vehicle have been met and that we are on track for the transfer of control authority," said Erik Daehler, Director of Secure Communications at Lockheed Martin.
A more comprehensive article on the AEHF satellite family will be published in Air and Cosmos issue 2715, scheduled for December 21.