Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman celebrate 100 years of flying protected satellite communications

Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system and Milstar satellites have achieved 100 years of combined successful operations, the companies said.

Designed as a protected, global network, the first Milstar launched in 1994 aboard a Titan IV rocket. Since then, the constellation has served as a critical resource for troops and national leaders in delivering secure and reliable communications. In 2010, the first AEHF launched as the follow-on to Milstar, providing expansive coverage and five times faster connections.

The Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate at the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center leads the team, with Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) as the prime contractor and Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems as the payload provider.

The nuclear-hardened communications satellites are resistant to high-tech jammers, eavesdropping and cyber attack. The system is also designed to insulate communications from vulnerability by eliminating the need for ground relay stations. The system uses on-board signal processing and radio frequency crosslinks, allowing communication between on-orbit satellites.

Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 98,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

Northrop Grumman is a global security company providing systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, strike, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide.