REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent deliveries of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) are getting Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE: NOC) production of payloads for the U.S. Air Force's fifth and sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) protected communication satellites off to a strong start.
More than 800 ASICs delivered by Honeywell Aerospace in Plymouth, Minn., and BAE Systems of Arlington, Va., bolster the building of electronic units that operate customized functions unique to AEHF payloads. Those capabilities, for example, include onboard signal processing and a highly sophisticated suite of 14 antennas that provides users with millions of options for countering adversaries' electronic, cyber and physical threats.
"Customized semiconductors are the main reason AEHF payloads are half the size and weight of previous-generation MILSTAR satellite payloads while providing 10 times the capacity," said Stuart Linsky, vice president, communication programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "Lighter payloads mean considerable savings in launch costs for the Air Force."Advanced EHF, the next generation of protected military satellite communications satellites, provides vastly improved global, survivable, highly secure, jam-proof communications for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. Northrop Grumman has delivered three AEHF payloads to system prime contractor Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif. The company is also building the fourth payload at its Redondo Beach facilities. "Advanced EHF payloads are an innovative blend of onboard digital signal processing hardware, firmware and software that deliver flexible connectivity on demand," Linsky said. "Each payload has constellation interconnects provided through satellite crosslinks that form a truly global, protected communications network without the need for vulnerable overseas ground gateways or stations." To meet more than 3,000 specific requirements, he said, each AEHF payload includes:
- Almost one million lines of software code
- 25 computers
- Nearly 800 application-specific integrated circuits
- Almost 18,000 monolithic microwave integrated circuits of 70 unique designs; and
- More than 13,000 integrated microwave assemblies and hybrids of 50 unique designs.