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AEHF 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

AEHF [USAF]

The AEHF (Advanced Extreme High Frequency Satellite), a.k.a. AWS (Advanced Wideband Satellite), program is the next generation of highly secure, high capacity, survivable communications to the U.S. warfighters during all levels of conflict, and will become the protected backbone of the Department of Defense's military satellite communications architecture.

The AEHF system will be integrated into the legacy Milstar (Military Strategic & Tactical Relay) constellation, and will be backward compatible with Milstar's low data rate (LDR) and medium data rate (MDR) capabilities, while providing extreme data rates (XDR) and larger capacity at substantially less cost than the Milstar system. Each satellite will be launched on an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), with the first launch planned for April 2008. They cost approximately $580 million per satellite

On-board signal processing will provide protection and ensure optimum resource utilization and system flexibility among the Armed Forces and other users who operate terminals on land, sea and air. The AEHF system will be integrated into the legacy Milstar constellation, and will be backward compatible with Milstar's low data rate (LDR) and medium data rate (MDR) capabilities, while providing extreme data rates (XDR) and larger capacity at substantially less cost than the Milstar system.

AEHF satellites feature  following antennas:

  • 2 SHF Downlink Phased Arrays,
  • 2 Crosslinks,
  • 2 Uplink/Downlink Nulling Antennas,
  • 1 Uplink EHF Phased Array,
  • 6 Uplink/Downlink gimbaled Dish Antenna,
  • 1 Each Uplink/downlink earth coverage horns

Up to six satellites were planned, but in late 2004 it was decided, to end the AEHF program after the third satellite in favour of introducing the next generation T-Sat earlier. Problems with the T-Sat program might lead to procurement of two more AEHFs instead.

AEHF 1 was launched in August 2010. After launch, the apogee propulsion system developed problems and the orbit was raised over a longer period using the attitude control engines and the Hall Current Thruster electric propulsion system.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Comsat
Operator: USAF
Contractors: Lockheed Martin (Bus), Northrop Grumman (ex TRW) (Payload)
Equipment: ?
Configuration: A2100M
Propulsion: IHI BT-4, HCT
Power: 2 deployable 5 segment solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 14 years
Mass: 6168 kg
Orbit: GEO
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
AEHF 1 (USA 214) 2010-039A 14.08.2010 CC SLC-41 Atlas-5(531)
AEHF 2 (USA 235) 2012-019A 04.05.2012 CC SLC-41 Atlas-5(531)
AEHF 3 (USA 246) 2013-050A 18.09.2013 CC SLC-41 Atlas-5(531)
AEHF 4 - 2017 CC
AEHF 5 - 2018 CC
AEHF 6 - 2019 CC
Further Milstar / AEHF missions: