Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), the Navy’s on-orbit, five-satellite constellation, began providing legacy satellite communications shortly after the first MUOS satellite launch in 2012.
Each MUOS satellite has dual-capability, explains Steve Davis at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. The legacy satellite communications payload was designed to maintain legacy narrowband communications for the Department of Defense (DoD) while the advanced MUOS capability came on line.
The full-suite MUOS payload, known as Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) waveform, adapts commercial cellular technology to enable warfighters to communicate beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) more securely and reliably than ever before, and with 10 times the capacity compared to the legacy capability.
Operators today with MUOS WCDMA radios are connecting beyond line-of-sight around the globe, transmitting simultaneous voice, video and mission data on an Internet Protocol-based system that connects to military networks, Davis adds.
“Narrowband communication is used by every combatant command, aboard ships at sea and multiple aircraft platforms, and by ground troops in a variety of warfighting applications, such as special operations,” says Rear Adm. Carl Chebi, who leads the Navy’s Program Executive Office (PEO) for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) and PEO Space Systems.
The system is expected to be declared fully operational following multi-service test and evaluation in summer 2019. The Marine Corps is slated to begin initial MUOS fielding in the fourth quarter of 2018, followed by initial operational capability in the first quarter of 2019.
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