Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract to produce two Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites, a deal that will net the company nearly $2 billion.
The deal is for production of the fifth and sixth AEHF satellites. The first two satellites are already in orbit, having launched in 2010 and 2012.
The AEHF program is designed to improve secure military communications, ensuring safe lines of communication between the president and top military leaders in extreme situations such as a nuclear attack. It represents a significant upgrade on the Milstar system, which has been in place since 1994.
“As protected and resilient satellite communications become increasingly vital to global security, the AEHF program has developed into an indispensable element of the nation’s military space architecture,” Mark Calassa, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Protected Communications area, wrote in a statement.
“This production contract for the fifth and sixth AEHF satellites affirms the government’s confidence in our ability to deliver these spacecraft affordably and efficiently to meet the burgeoning demand from strategic and tactical users worldwide,” wrote Calassa.
The network is shared by the United States, Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.