formance. The first of three AEHF satellites is scheduled
for launch late this year.
The Air Force also operates the Defense SatCom
System, which carries super-high frequency, high-priority command-and-control traffic for all services. It
will be replaced by the Wideband Global SatCom
System, which promises to supply
more than 10 times the capacity of
the current system.
The first Wideband satellite was
declared operational April 16 over
the Pacific; a second is scheduled to
launch later this year. Boeing is
under contract with the U.S. Air
Force to build five satellites. The
Australian government will fund a
sixth. The Wideband constellation is
expected to be completed by 2013.
“But the Navy is the acquisition
agent for narrowband satellites,”
including the MUOS constellation,
which is the replacement for the
current Ultra High Frequency
Follow-on System, Daniels said.
“UHF is in very high demand,
because of its capability for communications on the move and
MUOS will consist of four satellites, plus a spare, in geo-synchronous orbit — meaning
they remain in a fixed position in
relation to Earth — and will have
20 times the capacity of the current
system. The first satellite is scheduled for launch in 2009.
The Navy program guide says
MUOS “will leverage commercial
technology to the greatest degree
possible. It will provide tactical
narrowband netted, point-to-point
and broadcast services of voice,
video and data worldwide.”
Lockheed Martin was chosen as
the primary contractor for the system in 2004. The program is budgeted for $4.7 billion over the
Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP)
that covers fiscal years 2010
through 2015, with a total cost of
$6.2 billion. It is scheduled to be
operational in 2010.
The naval services also make
extensive use of commercial satellite
capabilities, such as INMARSAT, for tactical traffic and
quality-of-life telephone and e-mail communications for
the Sailors and Marines. DISA handles the leases for commercial satcom use, Daniels said.
Although often thought of as an augmentation for
the military satcom, commercial satellites have become
The first Wideband Global SatCom System satellite was placed into operation over
the Pacific April 16. When it is completed by 2013, the six-satellite constellation will
supply more than 10 times the capacity for super-high frequency, high-priority
command-and-control traffic for all services than the current Defense SatCom
System. It is one of several planned space-based and terrestrial programs aimed
at providing greater military communication capacity and efficiency.