The US Strategic Command has given approval for the expanded operational use of the next-generation narrowband satellite communication system, known as the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS).
The approval is expected to allow the US Navy and US Marine Corps (USMC) early adopter commands to use the system during deployment in the Pacific theatre later this year.
MUOS is an on-orbit, five-satellite constellation that has been developed and built by Lockheed Martin.
The system began providing legacy satellite communication services following the launch of the first satellite in 2012.
The full-suite MUOS payload, known as the Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) waveform, uses commercial cellular technology to enable warfighters to securely and reliably communicate beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS).
It is expected to have around ten times the communications capacity of the legacy satellite system once the MUOS network becomes fully operational.
US Navy Programme Executive Office (PEO) Space Systems lead rear admiral Carl Chebi said: “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.”
“MUOS’ acceptance for operational use is an important milestone for the navy, and it’s one step closer for significant communications improvements for all our forces.”
MUOS WCDMA radios offer BLOS connectivity, as well as enable users to transmit simultaneous voice, video and mission data on an Internet Protocol-based system, which is connected to military networks.
The MUOS system is anticipated to be fully operational once multi-service testing and evaluation is completed next year.
USMC is set to become the first service to widely deploy the MUOS solution, beginning with an initial fielding in the fourth quarter of this year, which is slated to be followed by initial operational capability during the first quarter of 2019.