US Navy’s MUOS approved for expanded use
The US Navy’s next generation narrowband satellite communication system has been approved for expanded operational use by the US Strategic Command, it was announced on 2 August.
The approval allows the navy and marine corps to use the system on deployment as early as autumn 2018, primarily in the Pacific theatre.
The navy's on-orbit, five-satellite constellation - the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) - began providing legacy satellite communications shortly after the first MUOS satellite launch in 2012. Each MUOS satellite has dual-capability. The legacy satellite communications payload was designed to maintain legacy narrowband communications for the Department of Defense while the advanced MUOS capability came on-line.
The full-suite MUOS payload, known as the Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) waveform, adapts commercial cellular technology to allow soldiers to communicate beyond-line-of-sight, more securely and reliably and with ten times the capacity of the legacy capability.
With the MUOS constellation on-orbit, the ground and network management system operational and the WCDMA waveform available for end-user radios, operators with MUOS WCDMA radios are connecting beyond line-of-sight around the globe, transmitting simultaneous voice, video and mission data on an IP-based system that connects to military networks.
The MUOS WCDMA capability entered the combatant command restricted operations phase in July 2016, allowing early adopters to gain experience with the new system. The system is expected to be declared fully operational following Multi-Service Test and Evaluation in summer 2019.
The marine corps announced in June that it would be the first service to widely deploy MUOS. The service is slated to begin initial MUOS fielding in the fourth quarter of 2018, followed by initial operational capability in the first quarter of 2019.
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