"If I had to find the top 10 strange ones, that one would make my list," said Caceres.
Lockheed Martin, which is expected to build all six AEHF satellites, said the probable cause was a foreign object that got into the system during manufacture. The Air Force reduced Lockheed Martin's potential fees by $15 million because of the mistake. Lockheed Martin's current contract for AEHF is valued at $7.8 billion.
The Air Force said the next two AEHF satellites have been inspected and additional checks have been added to the manufacturing process for the remaining versions. Lockheed Martin and the Air Force say the next satellite is scheduled for launch on April 27.
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