Fourth AEHF Satellite Procurement Begins

The Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin $119 million to procure the long-lead-time parts and materials for the fourth advanced extremely high frequency communications satellite, the Department of Defense announced July 17. The Air Force intends to put down the remainder of the funds for the satellite in Fiscal 2010 and launch it notionally in Fiscal 2014. The total cost of the fourth space vehicle is pegged at approximately $946 million, according to DOD’s most recent cost estimate for the program. AEHF satellites will replace the current Milstar constellation, providing secure communications to the US military. The Air Force expects to place the first AEHF satellite in orbit in 2009.