The U.S. Air Force is considering using a rapid acquisition pathway to buy military communications satellites that would succeed the Advanced Extremely High Frequency system, National Defense Magazine reported Tuesday.
Col. David Ashley, program manager of the Air Force’s AEHF system, said the service branch will seek approval from its senior acquisition executive in December to use the Section 804 rapid prototyping and fielding authority.
The Congress-approved approach is meant to expedite the process to build and deploy operational military platforms in less than five years.
Lockheed Martin produces AEHF satellites that are equipped with an extreme data rate, or XDR, payload and designed to offer 10 times more data range than that of Milstar satellites.
The Air Force launched AEHF-1 in August 2010, AEHF-2 in May 2012 and AEHF-3 in September 2013.
AEHF-4 lifted off Wednesday in Cape Canavera, Fla., onboard United Launch Alliance‘s Atlas V 551 rocket.