Lockheed Martin Wins Contract Modification for AEHF, Milstar and DSCS III Support

Lockheed Martin Space Systems has been awarded a contract modification for services required to support operations and sustainment for Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF), Milstar, and Defense Satellite Communications System III (DSCS III) satellite systems.

The contract modification provides for a technical refresh of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency Tactical-Mission Planning Subsystem platform.

The modification, valued at around $8 million, was awarded by the Military Satellite Communication Systems Directorate (MILSATCOM) of the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) located at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $6 million will be obligated at the time of award.

This modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to over $775 million.  Work will be performed at Sunnyvale, California; Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado; and Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. Work is expected to be complete by Nov. 30, 2019.

Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF)

Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) is a series of communications satellites operated by the United States Air Force Space Command (AFSPC).

They will be used to relay secure communications for the Armed Forces of the United States, the British Armed Forces, the Canadian Forces and the Royal Netherlands Armed Forces.

The system will consist of six satellites in geostationary orbits, three of which have been launched. AEHF will replace the older Milstar system and will operate at 44 GHz Uplink (EHF band) and 20 GHz Downlink (SHF band). AEHF systems is a joint service communications system that will provide survivable, global, secure, protected, and jam-resistant communications for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets. It is the follow-on to the Milstar system. AEHF systems’ uplinks and crosslinks will operate in the extremely high frequency (EHF) range and downlinks in the super high frequency (SHF) range.


Milstar, originally meaning Military Strategic and Tactical Relay, is a constellation of military communications satellites in geostationary orbit, which are operated by the United States Air Force, and provide secure and jam-resistant worldwide communications to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces of the United States.

Six spacecraft were launched between 1994 and 2003, of which five are operational; the third launch failed, both damaging the satellite and leaving it in an unusable orbit.

Milstar satellites provide secure, jam resistant, worldwide communications to meet the requirements of the United States military. They were built by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space Corporation, at a cost of US$800 million each. Each satellite has a design life of 10 years.

Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS)

Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) provides the United States with military communications to support globally distributed military users.

Beginning in 2007, DSCS is being replaced by the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system. A total of 14 DSCS-III satellites were launched between the early 1980s and 2003. Two satellites were launched aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis in 1985 during the STS-51-J flight. As of 23 November 2015, seven DSCS-III satellites were still operational.

DSCS operations are currently run by the 3d Space Operations Squadron out of Schriever Air Force Base.

DSCS III satellites support globally distributed Department of Defense (DoD) and national security users. The final 4 of 14 satellites received Service Life Enhancement Program (SLEP) modifications. These changes provided substantial capacity improvements through higher power amplifiers, more sensitive receivers, and additional antenna connectivity options.

The DSCS communications payload includes six independent Super High Frequency (SHF) transponder channels that cover a 500 MHz bandwidth. Three receive and five transmit antennas provide selectable options for Earth coverage, area coverage and/or spot beam coverage. A special purpose single-channel transponder is also on board.

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