The U.S. Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for $491 million to build a third spacecraft for the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (Advanced EHF) program constellation. Advanced EHF satellites will provide global, highly secure, protected, survivable communications for all warfighters serving under the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Advanced EHF system is the successor to the Milstar system, whose capabilities were cited by the Department of Defense as essential to the U.S.- led coalition’s success in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Advanced EHF will provide greater total capacity and offer channel data rates higher than that of Milstar communications satellites. The higher data rates permit transmission of tactical military communications such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data.

Development of the first Advanced EHF satellite is progressing on schedule. The team recently delivered the spacecraft core structure to Lockheed Martin’s Mississippi Space & Technology Center for integration with its propulsion subsystem. The second spacecraft is close behind in the production flow.

“This production contract reflects the Air Force’s strong commitment to providing the warfighter with assured communications connectivity,” said Julie Sattler, Lockheed Martin’s Advanced EHF program vice president. “The team is completely focused on achieving mission success on this vital program and we look forward to delivering this critical capability to our customer.”

Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the Advanced EHF system prime contractor and is providing a militarized version of its flight- proven A2100 spacecraft bus and the mission control segment, which will consolidate Milstar and Advanced EHF satellite control and communication resource planning into a single, modernized mission control system.

Northrop Grumman Space Technology, Redondo Beach, Calif., is the payload integrator and provider of the payload processors, nulling antennas, the inter-satellite crosslinks, RF antenna equipment, and phased array antennas. Advanced EHF satellites will also feature an electric propulsion system, provided by Aerojet of Sacramento, Calif.

The Advanced EHF program is managed by the MILSATCOM Joint Program Office, located at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 135,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2005 sales of $37.2 billion.

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