Northrop Grumman‘s communications payload for the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite has passed on-orbit testing conducted by the U.S. Air Force and deemed able to configure communications networks with ground terminals.
The company said Tuesday the payload on the AEHF-3 began signal transmission in January as the satellite reached geostationary orbit alongside other satellites in a constellation named the “ring of protection.”
The constellation, consisting of three AEHF and five Milstar satellites connected through crosslinks, is built to support ground, sea and air communications platforms while leveraging the payload’s anti-jamming, anti-detection, rapid recovery and other protection features.
“With the third AEHF satellite seamlessly integrated into the ‘ring of protection,’ the Northrop Grumman-built crosslinks demonstrated . . . operations at extended data rates [XDR] on both sides of an AEHF satellite,” said Stuart Linsky, vice president for communication programs at Northrop’s aerospace systems unit.
The company has supplied the payloads for all three AEHF satellites, which were built by prime contractor Lockheed Martin.
Linsky added that Northrop has provided its software-based communication payload technology for the Milstar program since 1994.