The Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite increases the data rate transition speed of the current Milstar satellite system, including the transmission rates of video, maps and targeting information. It also provides communications -- including conferencing -- for national leaders.
The AEHF is the second built for the U.S. Air Force by Lockheed Martin and was launched Friday aboard an Atlas V rocket of the United Launch Alliance.
"AEHF is integral to our national security space architecture, providing significantly improved protected communications capabilities for both tactical and strategic users," said Kevin Bilger, Lockheed Martin's vice president and general manager of Global Communications Systems. "Our team is focused on performing a timely and efficient satellite checkout to deliver mission success for our customer."
Additional details of the launch were not disclosed.
Northrop Grumman Aerospace System provided the payload for the satellite.
Biologists detail four new deep-sea 'killer sponges'
Pregnant Mila Kunis wins 'Best Villain' at MTV Movie Awards