24 Oct 2019

US Navy communications satellite completes test and evaluation challenges

The US Navy’s new communications satellite has been successfully tested and evaluated ahead of its transition to operations.

The Navy’s narrowband communications satellite has been assessed as operationally effective and can be used in unrestricted operations. The Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) provides narrowband satellite communications to the DOD.

The tests looked for suitability and performance in an operationally representative environment and measures of effectiveness. Successful testing indicates full operational capability.

John Pope, Leader of the Navy’s Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, and Space Systems said: “Sailors and Marines can already use MUOS in situations like humanitarian response, disaster assistance and training. Now, these same advanced communications capabilities will be available in the tactical warfare environment.”

“The advantages MUOS provides will help the warfighter compete, deter and win on the battlefield.”

Each of the five satellites in the MUOS constellation carries two payloads. The legacy communications payload was designed to maintain DoD legacy narrowband communications during the transition to the advanced MUOS Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) capability.

The MUOS WCDMA payload interfaces with the MUOS ground system through the MUOS WCDMA waveform that is integrated into end-user radios, adapting commercial cellular technology. This capability allows warfighters to communicate beyond line of sight more securely and reliably than ever before, with 10 times the capacity and significantly improved quality of service compared to the legacy narrowband constellation.

While the legacy capability continues to support unrestricted operations, the WCDMA capability will dramatically increase effectiveness, information security and global reach for missions across the spectrum of operations. The WCDMA payloads were approved by U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) for Early Combatant Command Use in July 2016, paving the way for testing, training, exercises and concept of operations development across the services.

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