The United Kingdom has now connected to the AEHF satellite network. (Lockheed Martin)
WASHINGTON — The United Kingdom has officially connected with the advanced extremely high frequency (AEHF) protected satellite communications network, becoming the last partner nation on the program to go operational.
The news was announced in a Tuesday release by AEHF contractor Lockheed Martin, although the first connection was made by the UK in February. Testing has been ongoing since then, with both ground- and sea-based terminals.
The US and UK are joined by Canada and The Netherlands as partners on the AEHF system. Canada connected to the system in May of 2013, followed two months later by the Dutch. In April of this year, all four countries participated in joint tests to make sure the system could successfully interconnect.
“AEHF is a keystone in global security. It is the only system that can provide highly-protected communications, circumventing our adversaries’ jammers in most wartime operations,” Mark Calassa, vice president of Protected Communication Systems at Lockheed, wrote in a company statement. “We are committed to driving this capability forward. All four partners are connected, and we are marching steadily toward Multi-Service Operational Test and Evaluation.”
The third AEHF satellite began broadcasting in March.
Last week, Raytheon won the right to produce a series of AEHF terminals known as the Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T) program. FAB-T is designed to assure the nation’s leadership secure communications, even in the event of nuclear war.