Illustration of MUOS satellite

Lockheed Martin has successfully demonstrated the ability of the US Navy’s Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellites to provide reliable communication capability in the arctic.

During the company-funded testing, the Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) of the MUOS satellite has demonstrated its capability using three different radios as far north as 89.5 degrees, under peak orbit conditions.

MUOS voice and data signals reached 30 miles and 0.5 degrees of latitude shy of the North Pole, much farther north than previously estimated.

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Lockheed Martin Narrowband Advanced Programs lead, Dr. Amy Sun, said the testing provided important system operation data at extreme conditions.

"We did these evaluations to explore growing arctic communication demand, yet it also highlighted the dramatic capability improvements the WCDMA architecture will provide," Sun said.

"Using MUOS, we were able communicate from the aircraft at high latitudes, which wasn’t the case for the legacy ultra high frequency signal."

" As the arctic becomes more accessible, the US and its allies need reliable communications to maintain a safe and secure presence."

The inherent voice and data access during the test is well beyond the requirement of 65 degree system while the additional coverage comes as demand is increasing for dependable polar communications.

Lockheed Martin Military Space Advanced Programs director Paul Scearce said, "As the arctic becomes more accessible, the USand its allies need reliable communications to maintain a safe and secure presence."

The trials also demonstrated the advantage of MUOS over legacy satellite communications.

Lockheed is the prime contractor and system integrator while the US Navy’s Program Executive Office for Space Systems and its Communications Satellite Program Office are responsible for the MUOS programme.

Image: illustration of MUOS satellite. Photo: copyright of Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Defence Technology