American FLTSATCOM satellite, 1981.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
Artist's impresion. The Fleet Satellite Communications (FLTSATCOM) series, which became operational in 1981, provides global communications for American nuclear forces. The FLTSATCOMs are supplemented by the Leasat system under an arrangement in which a subsidiary of the Hughes Aircraft Company orbits the satellites and recoups its investment by charging the US Navy for the use of the system.