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Milstar - Secure Communications

Satellite system provides U.S. military with reliable communications worldwide.


Milstar - Secure Communications
Updated August 24, 2011

The Milstar system ensures that the U.S. military has constant and consistent communications around the world.

Satellites In Orbit

The term "Milstar" stands for "Military Strategic and Tactical Relay." The Milstar system is comprised of five communications satellites that are suspended in orbit above the earth. The Milstar system ensures that all branches of the U.S. military have secure communications that cannot be jammed or interfered with at any time. With Milstar, the U.S. military has reliable communications across the globe and at all times – day or night.

The first Milstar satellite was launched in 1994. The last one entered orbit in 2003. The system was developed and tested at the U.S. Air Force Base in Los Angeles, California. Lockheed Martin Corp. helped develop the satellites and accompanying communication system. The U.S. Air Force has responsibility for operating and maintaining the Milstar system and ensuring that it works for each branch of the military.

10 Year Life Span

Each Milstar satellite was developed and built at a cost of $800 million. The satellites were designed to have a 10 year life span in orbit above the earth. A sixth satellite that was created for use with the Milstar system was destroyed by accident while being launched into space. The U.S. military is now developing a new global communication system to replace the aging Milstar system known as "Advanced Extremely High Frequency" satellites, or "USA-214" satellites. The Milstar satellites help facilitate encrypted voice, data, teletype and facsimile communications across the U.S. military.

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