The satellite, built by a Lockheed Martin team for the U.S. Air Force, provides highly secure, protected communications for strategic command and tactical U.S. warfighters as well as for military forces of Canada, Britain and the Netherlands.
According to Lockheed Martin, a single AEHF satellite provides greater total capacity than the entire legacy five-satellite Milstar constellation. Data rates for individual users will increase five-fold and permit transmission of real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data.
"Thanks to a focused government-industry team, the third AEHF satellite is ready to launch," said Mark Calassa, vice president of Protected Communication Systems at Lockheed Martin. "We've increased affordability while maintaining a focus on mission success.
"Our AEHF-1 and -2 satellites are delivering improved capability during on-orbit testing, having already connected three allies and 10 terminal types."
AEHF-3 will be carried into orbit by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Lockheed Martin is under contract to deliver six AEHF satellites and the Mission Control Segment.