An electronics unit that positions a suite of antennas for the US Air Force Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite has been delivered as part of a communications payload. The AEHF satellite provides improved global, survivable, highly secure, and protected communications for strategic command and tactical warfighters. Delivered by Northrop Grumman, this payload is the fourth in a series supplied to Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

The payload’s gimbal control unit (GCU) contains 10 mechanically steered antennas as part of a subsystem that processes gimbal-pointing commands for precision pointing. It also operates two crosslink antennas, two nulling antennas, and six gimbaled dish antennas. The payload provides and controls all extremely-high-frequency (EHF) uplink, super-high-frequency (SHF) downlink and crosslink functions, beamforming, on-board nulling, signal processing, and time and frequency control for low-, medium-, and extended-data-rate operation.

The system, which is designed to provide higher-reliability and higher-data-rate broadband communications in remote regions, provides extreme-data-rate (XDR) services to 8.192 Mb/s per user. It provides Milstar low-data-rate (LDR) services at 75 to 2400 b/s and Milstar medium-data-rate (MDR) services at 4.8 kb/s to 1.544 Mb/s. The payload will begin to be integrated immediately, consistent with the on-schedule performance of the satellite.