Lockheed Martin will lose $15 million in available award fees and has agreed to a contract restructure to offset the costs associated with the delay in the first Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite reaching its operational orbit, said Air Force space officials Monday. AEHF-1 suffered a propulsion system anomaly shortly after its launch into space in August 2010 and has yet to reach its intended orbit, although the satellite is maneuvering its way into that position. The USAF officials also announced that they have extended AEHF-1’s orbit-raising timeline from Aug. 31 to Oct. 3 in an effort to optimize the satellite’s fuel usage. “This extension does not affect the initial operational capability date and provides additional fuel reserves to support potential future contingency operations,” they said. Lockheed spokesman Stephen Tatum told the Daily Report that the company is “fully confident in our path forward to successfully reach the satellite’s operational orbit.” (Los Angeles release)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.