Lockheed Martin has delivered the US Navy's fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
The move comes prior to the satellite's expected launch in May this year, which will be the third satellite to launch in 16 months for the US Navy's smart phone-like network.
The MUOS-5 will join a network of orbiting satellites including MUOS-1, MUOS-2, MUOS-3, and MUOS-4, and relay ground stations that are revolutionising secure communications for mobile military forces, the company said.
The satellite offers simultaneous, crystal-clear voice, video and mission data, over a secure high-speed internet protocol-based system, thereby allowing users with operational MUOS terminals to seamlessly connect beyond line-of-sight around the world and into the global information grid.
The MUOS-5 is said to complete the navy's baseline constellation and serve as an on-orbit spare for the system, ensuring the network is always available to support US and allied mobile forces.
Lockheed Martin Narrowband Communications mission area programme director Mark Woempner said: "As MUOS-5's launch approaches, MUOS-4 is preparing to begin operations on-station, enabling MUOS' near-global coverage.
"We are proud that we will soon be providing our mobile forces access to the system's enhanced communications capabilities from nearly anywhere, including further into polar regions than ever before."
The satellite was manufactured at Lockheed's manufacturing facility in Sunnyvale, California, US. Lockheed's wholly-owned subsidiary in Florida Astrotech Space Operations will complete MUOS-5's pre-launch processing.
More than 55,000 currently fielded radio terminals can be upgraded to be MUOS-compatible, with many of them requiring just a software upgrade.
When fully operational, the MUOS network will provide 16 times the capacity of the existing ultra high frequency communications satellite system, which will be eventually replaced.
Image: MUOS-5 arrived at Cape Canaveral. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.