[Via Satellite 08-03-2015] The United States Air Force declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite system on July 28. The constellation currently consists of three in-orbit spacecraft with three more, AEHF-4, AEHF-5, and AEHF-6, scheduled to launch in 2017, 2018, and 2019 respectively.
The AEHF system is a joint service satellite communications system that provides nuclear-hardened, secure, protected, and jam-resistant communications worldwide for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets. AEHF provides 10 times the throughput and a substantial increase in coverage compared to the 1990s-era Milstar satellites currently in orbit.
The U.S. Air Force Space Command, the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and the developers, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, worked collaboratively to develop AEHF, along with international partners the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands. With the IOC declaration, the Air Force’s 4th Space Operations Squadron is now operating the AEHF system.