Satellite deal follows up Milstar

The Air Force has awarded a nearly $2.7 billion contract for its Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite program to the team of Lockheed Martin Corp. and TRW Inc.

The system development and demonstration contract awarded last month will deliver the Defense Department's next-generation highly secure, high-capacity communications satellites and ground command and control system as a follow-on capability to DOD's current Milstar communications satellite program.

Lockheed Martin is the prime integrator and provider of the spacecraft structure and ground command and control segments, while TRW is providing the satellite payload. The contract will culminate in the delivery of two AEHF satellites, along with the ground command and control system.

AEHF will provide 10 times greater total capacity over Milstar communications satellites, allowing for tactical military communications such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data, according to the Air Force. The first of the two satellites is scheduled for launch in 2006.

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