Tag Archives: MUOS

Full Operational Use

A new global, military, satellite-based cellular network designed to revolutionize secure communications for mobile forces is now ready for full operational use in warfighting environments.

MUOS Secure Communications Satellite System ready for Full Operational Use

The Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), developed by prime contractor Lockheed Martin with ground systems provider General Dynamics Mission Systems, was deemed operationally effective, operationally suitable, and cyber survivable, following successful completion of its Multiservice Operational Test and Evaluation (MOT&E). This summer’s rigorous MOT&E, conducted by the U.S. Navy’s Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force, included participation from the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps.

Mobile forces have been conducting early testing and training on MUOS since the network was approved for Early Combatant Command use in July 2016. In August 2018, U.S. Strategic Command approved MUOS for expanded operational use to include non-combat operations – like humanitarian response, disaster relief and further training. The successful MOT&E now makes MUOS’ advanced communications capabilities fully available to the tactical warfare environment.

Comprised of five geosynchronous satellites and four geographically dispersed relay ground stations, the MUOS network brings to mobile forces new, simultaneous, crystal-clear voice, video and mission data over a secure high-speed Internet Protocol-based system. Users with new MUOS terminals will be able to seamlessly connect beyond line-of-sight around the world and into the Global Information Grid, as well as into the Defense Switched Network. MUOS also has demonstrated successful communication of Integrated Broadcast Service (IBS) messages.

«MUOS is a game changer for our troops, providing incredible new voice and data capabilities with near global coverage from satellites that act like cell towers 22,000 miles above the Earth», said Kay Sears, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Military Space line of business. «Imagine leaping in technology from a walkie-talkie to a modern cellular phone with global reach. This is what MUOS is for our troops and its network technology will provide more than 10 times the communications capacity the legacy UHF SATCOM system can provide».

«MUOS will provide a level of voice and data communications capability that warfighters have never had using legacy SATCOM systems», said Manny Mora, vice president and general manager for the Space and Intelligence Systems line of business at General Dynamics Mission Systems. «With voice clarity and data speed rivaling what civilians enjoy on their cellphones, MUOS delivers a tactical communications and operational advantage. Wherever our forces are deployed, MUOS will be there».

Today MUOS’ satellites, built by Lockheed Martin, provide both the advanced, new Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) waveform and legacy SATCOM UHF communications signals to support troops as they transition over to the more-versatile cellular network. MUOS’ ground system, built by General Dynamics Mission Systems, has two locations in the United States, one in Australia and one in Europe – each supporting the system’s global, beyond-line-of-sight, narrowband communications reach.

The Navy’s Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence and Space Systems (PEO C4 and Space Systems), and its Communications Satellite Program Office responsible for the MUOS program, are based in San Diego, California.

Navy Accepts MUOS

Following the completion of successful on-orbit testing, on November 30, the U.S. Navy accepted the fourth Lockheed Martin-built Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite. Launched September 2, MUOS-4 is the latest addition to a network of orbiting satellites and relay ground stations that is revolutionizing secure communications for mobile military forces. Users with operational MUOS terminals can seamlessly connect beyond line-of-sight around the world and into the Global Information Grid. MUOS’ new commercial, cellular-based capabilities include simultaneous, crystal-clear voice, video and mission data, over a secure high-speed Internet Protocol-based system.

MUOS satellites are equipped with a Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) payload that provides a 16-fold increase in transmission throughput over the current Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite system
MUOS satellites are equipped with a Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) payload that provides a 16-fold increase in transmission throughput over the current Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite system

«MUOS-4 completes the initial constellation, providing the MUOS network with nearly global coverage. Mobile forces, equipped with MUOS terminals, will soon be able to communicate with each other – including voice, data and exchanging imagery – real-time, virtually anywhere on the Earth», said Iris Bombelyn, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for Narrowband Communications. «This is a tremendous upgrade in communications capabilities over what currently exists for our nation and our allies».

MUOS-4 will be relocated in Spring 2016 to its on-orbit operational slot in preparation for operational acceptance. The satellite joins MUOS-1, MUOS-2 and MUOS-3, launched respectively in 2012, 2013 and January 2015, and four required MUOS ground stations. MUOS-5, an on-orbit spare, also will be launched next year.

Once fully operational, the MUOS network will provide 16 times the capacity of the legacy ultra high frequency communications satellite system, which it will continue to support, and eventually replace. More than 55,000 currently fielded radio terminals can be upgraded to be MUOS-compatible, with many of them requiring just a software upgrade.

On January 29, Lockheed Martin encapsulated the first MUOS satellite into its launch vehicle payload fairing in preparation for its February 16 launch aboard an Atlas V rocket
On January 29, Lockheed Martin encapsulated the first MUOS satellite into its launch vehicle payload fairing in preparation for its February 16 launch aboard an Atlas V rocket

 

Activity in the arctic is growing as the polar sheet cap recedes. More people, shipping, exploration and search and rescue expose the need for secure communications to protect the region. However, getting satellite communications signal is extremely difficult. But not anymore

 

MUOS-4 Encapsulated

The fourth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Navy was encapsulated in its protective launch vehicle fairing August 10. It is scheduled to launch August 31 aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.

MUOS-4, the next satellite scheduled to join the U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System secure communications network, has been encapsulated in its protective launch vehicle fairing for its August 31 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (photos courtesy of United Launch Alliance)
MUOS-4, the next satellite scheduled to join the U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System secure communications network, has been encapsulated in its protective launch vehicle fairing for its August 31 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (photos courtesy of United Launch Alliance)

MUOS-4 is the latest addition to a network of orbiting satellites and relay ground stations that is revolutionizing secure communications for mobile military forces. Users with operational MUOS terminals can seamlessly connect beyond line-of-sight around the globe and into the Global Information Grid. MUOS’ new smart phone-like capabilities include simultaneous, crystal-clear voice, video and mission data, over a high-speed Internet Protocol-based system.

«Delivery of this fourth satellite for the U.S. Navy completes the initial MUOS constellation and provides near-global coverage for the network», said Iris Bombelyn, vice president of Narrowband Communications at Lockheed Martin. «For our mobile forces, that means for the first time they will be able to have secure, high-fidelity voice conversations, networked team calls and data exchange, including video, with anyone around the world connected with a MUOS terminal».

MUOS, which also supports the legacy ultra-high frequency communications satellite system, will provide comparatively 16 times the capacity of the legacy system and eventually replace it. The MUOS-1, MUOS-2 and MUOS-3 satellites launched respectively in 2012, 2013 and January 2015. All four required MUOS ground stations are complete. MUOS-5, an on-orbit Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) spare with additional legacy system capability, is expected to launch in 2016.

More than 55,000 currently fielded radio terminals can be upgraded to be MUOS-compatible, with many of them requiring just a software upgrade.

Lockheed Martin manufactured MUOS-4 at the prime contractor’s Sunnyvale, California facility. Earlier this summer, the satellite shipped to the Cape, where it was pre-launch processed and finally encapsulated at Astrotech Space Operations, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin. The Navy’s Program Executive Office for Space Systems and its Communications Satellite Program Office, San Diego, California, are responsible for the MUOS program.

MUOS-4 will complete near-global coverage for U.S. Navy’s new military smart phone-like network (photos courtesy of United Launch Alliance)
MUOS-4 will complete near-global coverage for U.S. Navy’s new military smart phone-like network (photos courtesy of United Launch Alliance)

Navy Accepts MUOS

Following successful completion of on-orbit testing, the U.S. Navy accepted the third Lockheed Martin-built Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite.

MUOS-4, the next satellite scheduled to join the MUOS network later this year, is in final assembly and test at Lockheed Martin’s satellite manufacturing facility in Sunnyvale, California
MUOS-4, the next satellite scheduled to join the MUOS network later this year, is in final assembly and test at Lockheed Martin’s satellite manufacturing facility in Sunnyvale, California

Launched January 20, MUOS-3 is the latest addition to a network of orbiting satellites and relay ground stations that is revolutionizing secure communications for mobile military forces. Users with operational MUOS terminals can seamlessly connect around the globe, beyond line-of-sight, with new smartphone-like capabilities, including simultaneous and crystal-clear voice, video and mission data, on a high-speed Internet Protocol-based system.

«MUOS is a game-changer in communications for every branch of our military, which all have mobile users who will benefit from these new capabilities», said Iris Bombelyn, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for narrowband communications. «This latest satellite will expand the MUOS network’s coverage over more than three-quarters of the globe, including significantly more coverage north and south than the current legacy voice-only system».

With on-orbit testing complete, MUOS-3 is being relocated to its on-orbit operational slot in preparation for operational acceptance.

The MUOS network is expected to provide near global coverage before year-end. MUOS-1 and MUOS-2, launched respectively in 2012 and 2013, are already operational and providing high-quality voice communications. Lockheed Martin handed over the last of four required ground stations to the Navy in February. MUOS-4 is expected to launch later this year.

The system consists of four satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) with one on-orbit spare and a fiber optic terrestrial network connecting four ground stations
The system consists of four satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) with one on-orbit spare and a fiber optic terrestrial network connecting four ground stations

 

Communication Service Types

Voice:                                                Conversational and recognition voice

Data:                                                  Low data rate telemetry, short digital messaging, imagery transfer, file transfer, electronic mail, remote computer access, remote sensor reception, sporadic messaging for distributed applications, video, video teleconferencing

Mixed Voice and Data Services:      Mixed transport of voice and data

 

Communication Characteristics

Satellites:

4 GEO satellites and an on-orbit spare. 16 WCDMA beams per satellite. Satellite carries MUOS WCDMA and legacy UHF SATCOM payloads

Access Type:                              WCDMA

Data Rates:                                 Up to 384 kbps on the move

Bandwidth:                                 Four 5-MHz carriers

Transport Network:              IPv4 and IPv6 dual stack network

DoD Teleport:                          Portal to Defense Information Systems Network:                                     DSN, SIPRNET, NIPRNET

Access Type:                             Legacy UHF SATCOM

Bandwidth:                               17 25-kHz and 21 5-kHz channels

This third satellite extends MUOS network’s coverage over more than three-quarters of the globe
This third satellite extends MUOS network’s coverage over more than three-quarters of the globe

Like a smartphone

The third Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Navy was encapsulated into its payload fairing. It is scheduled to launch January 20 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

MUOS SV1 is encapsulated at the Astrotech facility in Titusville, Florida
MUOS SV1 is encapsulated at the Astrotech facility in Titusville, Florida

«This third MUOS launch is another major step toward achieving a fully operational MUOS end-to-end capability by 2016», said Navy Capt. Joseph Kan, the MUOS program manager in a statement. «The Navy, in close collaboration with the Army, Air Force and our industry partners, is bringing the future of worldwide mobile satellite communications into reality for the United States and potentially allied nations».

MUOS operates like a smart phone network in the sky, vastly improving current secure mobile satellite communications for warfighters on the move. Unlike previous systems, MUOS provides users an on-demand, beyond-line-of-sight capability to transmit and receive high-quality, prioritized voice and mission data, on a high-speed Internet Protocol-based system.

«MUOS is a game changer in communications for our warfighters and will allow them to have high-fidelity voice conversations, networked team calls and data exchange, including video, with anyone connected to a secure terminal around the world», said Iris Bombelyn, vice president of Narrowband Communications at Lockheed Martin. «The launch of MUOS-3 will increase our network coverage to about three-quarters of the globe».

Replacing the legacy Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Follow-On system, MUOS satellites have two payloads to ensure UHF narrowband communications accessibility and new capabilities. MUOS’ advanced Wideband Code Division Access (WCDMA) payload incorporates commercial technology and a new waveform to provide users priority-based capacity. Once fully operational, MUOS will provide comparatively 16 times the capacity of the legacy system. More than 50,000 terminals in the field today can be retrofitted with WCDMA.

The system consists of four satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) with one on-orbit spare and a fiber optic terrestrial network connecting four ground stations
The system consists of four satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) with one on-orbit spare and a fiber optic terrestrial network connecting four ground stations

MUOS is expected to provide warfighters global coverage before the end of 2015. MUOS-1 and MUOS-2, launched respectively in 2012 and 2013, are already operational and providing high-quality voice communications. MUOS-4 is on track to launch later in the year. The fourth and final required MUOS ground station also is expected to be operational early next year.

For MUOS, Lockheed Martin is building on its proven record of providing progressively advanced spacecraft for protected, narrowband and wideband military satellite communications. Lockheed Martin built the legacy Milstar protected communications satellites, as well as the Defense Satellite Communications Systems (DSCS) wideband communications spacecraft for the U.S. Air Force. Lockheed Martin is also the prime contractor on the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) program, a next-generation military satellite communications system to deliver vastly improved global, survivable, highly secure, protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms.

According to Sam LaGrone, the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute, MUOS was originally to be paired with the Pentagon’s Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program that was cancelled in 2011. Now there are few program of record radios for the systems, though General Dynamics, Rockwell Collins and Harris have developed MUOS compatible radios.

The MUOS Flt 1 vehicle prepares to enter the DELTA chamber for thermal vac testing
The MUOS Flt 1 vehicle prepares to enter the DELTA chamber for thermal vac testing

 

Communication Service Types

Voice:                                                Conversational and recognition voice

Data:                                                  Low data rate telemetry, short digital messaging, imagery transfer, file transfer, electronic mail, remote computer access, remote sensor reception, sporadic messaging for distributed applications, video, video teleconferencing

Mixed Voice and Data Services:      Mixed transport of voice and data

 

Communication Characteristics

Satellites:                                            4 GEO satellites and an on-orbit spare.                                                                   16 WCDMA beams per satellite.                                                                                 Satellite carries MUOS WCDMA and                                                                       legacy UHF SATCOM payloads

Access Type:                                      WCDMA

Data Rates:

Up to 384 kbps on the move

Bandwidth:

Four 5-MHz carriers

Transport Network:

IPv4 and IPv6 dual stack network

DoD Teleport:

Portal to Defense Information Systems Network:

DSN, SIPRNET, NIPRNET

Access Type:                                      Legacy UHF SATCOM

Bandwidth:

17 25-kHz and 21 5-kHz channels

 

The foundation of the MUOS architecture is a direct sequence spread spectrum WCDMA waveform leveraged from 3G commercial mobile technologies. WCDMA offers adaptive power control to provide the required quality of service to each user while simultaneously maximizing system capacity. MUOS uses Internet Protocol versions 4 and 6 (IPv4/IPv6) to give the warfighter global roaming connectivity to the Global Information Grid. The architecture is also designed for significant growth as capacity demand increases. In fact, the MUOS frequency allocation reserves enough space for four more satellites, providing effortless growth capability.