Digital Battlespace

US Marine Corps tunes into narrowband network

13th June 2019 - 09:01 GMT | by Kate Martyr in London


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The USMC  has now begun rolling out its next-generation narrowband SATCOM system to replace its legacy SATCOM networks.

Thousands of antenna kits for the AN/PRC-117G radio system and hundreds of diplexers are being fitted to vehicles to provide access to the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite waveform now being deployed across the USMC.

Fielding of the MUOS system, which can be accessed via a mobile telephone-type application, took place in Q1 FY 2019.

According to manufacturers Lockheed Martin, MUOS will provide 16-times the capacity of the legacy system it will eventually replace. 

This should increase access to voice and data communication in addition to it improving overall communications reliability in urban environments, and dense vegetation.

Access to the MUOS capability is via updated firmware installed on the AN/PRC-117G radio system and one of three antenna kits. The antennas enable marines to simultaneously access SATCOM networks as well as access to secure and non-secure internet access.

The MUOS firmware systems allow for a connection to MUOS sattellites. These two payloads provide access to Wideband Code Division Multiple Access waveform capabilities and the legacy UHF satellite communications system, which is still used by mobile forces around the world.

The network is sustained by an initial configuration of four orbiting satellites (MUOS 1-4) and four relay ground stations. An on-orbit spare, MUOS-5, will ensure the network is always available to support US and allied mobile forces

The roll-out comes as militaries around the world look to exploit both wideband and narrowband SATCOM systems as means to deal with increasing amounts of information in a multi-domain setting while evading detection or jamming.

The Danish MoD announced it will implement NATO's Broadcast and Ship Shore Enhancement One architecture on 12 ships and three shore stations.

The system is based on the R&S M3SR Series 4000HF radios with new interfaces for wideband applications.

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