Northrop Grumman Corp. said it has completed and delivered some 36,000 miniature integrated electronic circuits for the payloads of the fifth and sixth Advanced Extremely Frequency secure communications satellites being built for the U.S. Air Force.
In a press release dated May 7, Northrop Grumman said the Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits (MMICs) were manufactured at the company’s microelectronics wafer foundry in Manhattan Beach, California, under an Air Force block buy contract. They were delivered to Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California, for integration into the AEHF payloads.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Sunnyvale, California, is prime contractor on the AEHF satellites, which provide highly secure, hard-to-detect communications to strategic and tactical forces under all conditions, including a nuclear war. Northrop Grumman Aerospace supplies both the tactical and strategic payloads.
Each AEHF satellite incorporates 18,000 of the MMICs, which are integrated throughout the satellite payloads, Northrop Grumman said. The circuits are used for frequency conversion, amplification and switching the company said.
“The Air Force procured these advanced, high-frequency MMICs through block buys early in the payload development cycle,” Stuart Linsky, vice president of communication programs at Northrop Grumman Aerospace, said in a prepared statement. “Along with cost and schedule savings, the parts were more efficient to produce.”
Northrop Grumman spokesman Bob Bishop said the company expects to deliver the payloads for AEHF satellites 5 and 6 in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Lockheed Martin is under contract for a total of six AEHF satellites, three of which are already on orbit.