The U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin Space Systems a $22 million contract for procurement of long-lead parts for a fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) secure communications satellite, according to a Sept. 10 Defense Department announcement.

Lockheed Martin is prime contractor on the next-generation satellites, which are expected to begin launching in 2011. The first three satellites are fully under contract, with a contract for the fourth expected this year. The Air Force intends to buy six AEHF spacecraft.