Air Force Space Command completed Advanced Extremely High Frequency military satellite communication system operational test and evaluation, paving the way for AEHF’s initial operational capability, officials announced. Once data from the six-month intensive evaluation is analyzed AFSPC “will decide whether the AEHF system has reached initial operational capability,” said 4th Space Operations Squadron Operations Director Lt. Col. Zachary Owen, in a Feb. 10 release. Tests included proving the AEHF constellation could be controlled by a mobile control center separate from Schriever AFB, Colo., as well as integrating with the legacy Milstar satcom system, according to officials. Cyber aggressors also probed AEHF’s network security and Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center personnel visited representative joint-service and allied users including Britain, Canada, and the Netherlands to assure end-user access worldwide. “For the first time ever, we tested the nuller and scintillation capability of the satellites,” said Maj. Matthew Collins, AFOETC Det. 4 director. These components give AEHF “the unique capability … to be able to operate in a contested environment” as well as a nuclear war scenario, he added.
Supply chain and vanishing vendor issues make supporting old nuclear systems increasingly difficult, Global Strike Command’s logistics and engineering chief Brig. Gen. Kenyon K. Bell said. Additive printing will be a big help but can be hampered by bureaucracy.