The US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center has announced that Lockheed Martin has been awarded a US$3.3 billion contract for support services on “classified military communications” satellites.
The contract is a 10-year indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity agreement for the operations and support of the advanced extremely high frequency (AEHF) Milstar and Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) III constellations.
These constellations provide the US Defence services with reliable, secure and jam-proof communications between fixed-site, mobile and portable terminals, and are also used by Canada, the Netherlands and the UK.
Lockheed Martin has been the prime contractor of the program for the past decade, delivering five of six AEHF satellites used by the US Air Force, with the first launched in 2010 and the fifth reaching orbit in August this year.
There are five operational Milstar satellites, with the first two carrying a low data rate (LDR) payload that transmits 75 to 2,400 bps of data over 192 channels in the extremely high frequency (EHF) range.
The other three satellites carry both LDR and medium data rate payloads, which can transmit 4,800 bps to 1.544 Mbps of data over 32 channels.
A key feature of the Milstar system is the use of interoperable terminals by the warfighters of the US Armed Forces. For example, sea-based terminals can be used to upload data in real time onto cruise missiles carried aboard submarines and guided missile destroyers.
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