The newest branch of the U.S. military carried out its first national security launch, sending a military communications satellite into orbit.
According to CBS News, the $1.2 billion satellite is “the sixth and final relay station in a jam-resistant, blast-hardened constellation valued at more than $11 billion.” The goal of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite network is to provide encrypted communications around the globe, while being jam-proof. The network will be used by the U.S., UK, Canada and the Netherlands for strategic command and control communications, as well as conducting tactical missions. The AEHF satellites can also handle 10 times the amount of data as the relay stations they replace.
“This is the nation’s only strategic and tactical protected comm satellite network,” said Mike Cacheiro, Lockheed Martin AEHF program manager. “It’s also the only system that survives through a near nuclear burst and can provide communications through environments that other comm systems could not.
“So on a really bad day, you really want to have this system in place,” he continued.