SUNNYVALE, Calif., June 21 (UPI) -- Canada has communicated with the U.S. Air Force's Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite, becoming the first international partner in the system to do so.
The AEHF system provides greatly enhanced protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfighters. A single AEHF satellite provides greater total capacity than the entire legacy five-satellite Milstar constellation now in use.
Lockheed Martin, which produced the satellite, is on contract for six satellites and the mission control segment.
The U.S. Air Force has been allowing select groups to use AEHF for testing as it fields the system.
"AEHF's protected communication capabilities are operational and have wide appeal," said Mark Calassa, vice president of Protected Communications at Lockheed Martin. "This event was an integrated effort that spanned countries, armed services and product lines. It shows our employees are delivering a complex system that works well, enhances capability and improves allied missions."
Lockheed said a U.S.-Canada team, using a variant of the SMART-T terminal from a location near Ottawa, Canada, exchanged data with the U.S. Air Force's 4th Space Operations Squadron in Colorado. Later Canadian forces, with U.S. support, tested multiple Navy Multi-Band IP variant terminals to exchange data over AEHF networks.
The Netherlands and Britain, who are also partners in the AEHF project, will conduct their first terminal connections in the months ahead.