AEHF-4’s Warp-Speed Wonder

A hyper-fast phased array antenna will equip the next Advanced Extremely High Frequency communication satellite, making it the quickest and most jam-resistant yet, Northrop Grumman announced. Instead of bouncing signals off of mechanically steered reflectors, the Super High Frequency Array Unit, which was designed specifically for the AEHF satellite, directs a “steerable beam” of energy directly to units on the ground. “This allows one array to do the job of many reflectors, giving the flexibility to point-on-demand in fractions of a second to hundreds of coverage areas, greatly improving access and automatically countering signal jamming,” said Stuart Linsky, company communications vice president in a March 11 release. The company delivered the SAU to Lockheed Martin for integration into AEHF-4 earlier this month. When it launches, the antenna will be the first of its kind to operate at such high frequencies in space, according to the company. AEHF will eventually replace the MILSTAR system. AEHF-3 blasted off last September.