Mobile User Objective System (MUOS)
MUOS will replenish and replace the legacy UHF SATCOM constellation, including both legacy and advanced UHF payloads. MUOS adapts commercial third generation Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) cellular technology with geosynchronous satellites to provide a new and more capable UHF military SATCOM system. The MUOS program includes a satellite constellation of four operational satellites, plus one on-orbit spare, a ground control and network management system, and the new WCDMA waveform for user terminals. The infrastructure to both fly the satellites and control user access is managed from the ground. MUOS will provide greater than 10 times the communications bandwidth capacity compared with the current UHF constellation.
Each MUOS satellite also carries a legacy payload similar to that flown on UFO F11. These payloads will continue to support legacy terminals while allowing for a gradual transition to the MUOS WCDMA waveform.
MUOS-1 and MUOS-2 legacy payloads were placed into operational use in November 2012 and July 2014. MUOS-3 launched in January 2015, completed on-orbit testing and arrived in its operational slot in August 2015. MUOS-4 launched in September 2015, completing worldwide coverage. MUOS-5, an on-orbit spare, launched in June 2016.
The MUOS WCDMA capability entered into Early Combatant Commander Use in July 2016, providing operational users the opportunity to assess and provide recommendations for improving the system – helping deliver MUOS WCDMA capabilities to the warfighters as quickly as possible. WCDMA will commence operational use once U.S. Strategic Command accepts the program for operations.
- Operational Today: MUOS is already providing legacy communications to Combatant Commanders via active satellites on-orbit. MUOS' WCDMA capability has been demonstrated in various environments, platforms and applications such as integration testing with the newest submarine antennas, Navy Special Operations scenario exercises and Air Force C-17 in-flight tests.
- Providing Enhanced Capabilities: Users with new MUOS WCDMA terminals are seamlessly connecting beyond line-of-sight around the globe. MUOS' capabilities include simultaneous voice, video and mission data on an Internet Protocol-based system capable of connecting to military networks.
- Warfighter Critical: Narrowband communication accounts for more than 50 percent of all Department of Defense satellite communications while accounting for less than 2 percent of total DoD bandwidth. Narrowband communications is used by every Combatant Command in aircraft, ships, submarines, ground vehicles, troops in the field and a host of warfighting applications, including special operations.
See External Partnerships
MUOS WCDMA Operations
In 2012, PMW 146 was assigned as the single government lead responsible for delivering the end-to-end MUOS system capability, which includes the teleport segment for access to DISN and user terminals. The first terminal to use the new MUOS WCDMA waveform is the Army’s Handheld Manpack Small Form Fit radio (AN/PRC-155). In early 2013, PRC-155 radios successfully completed the first WCDMA voice and data calls using the on-orbit MUOS-1 satellite and routed through the Hawaii ground station. Several legacy software-defined radios are undergoing developmental upgrades and waveform integration via formal acquisition programs and internal research and development endeavors that will provide the MUOS capability to all warfighting segments, including maritime platforms, airborne platforms, stationary platforms and mobile ground forces.
MUOS has successfully demonstrated secure communications capability beyond its specification of 65 degrees north latitude during an in-flight assessment, as well as during an extended duration Navy submarine Arctic exercise. In August 2014, during the Northern Command Arctic Shield Exercise on board Coast Guard Cutter Healy, the commanding officer stated, “MUOS is a very capable system and would appear to almost completely solve our high latitude communications issues.” In another 2014 exercise with an Air Force C-17 aircraft, MUOS achieved the first demonstration of a continuous real-time aircraft and mission data link to Air Mobility Command Mission Data Center and the first interoperability between two different MUOS radios (PRC-155 and ARC-210).
MUOS proved to be just as effective in the southern hemisphere during Pacific Command’s Operation Deep Freeze in November 2014, providing simultaneous voice and data communications between McMurdo Station, Antarctica; the National Science Foundation Headquarters in Christchurch, New Zealand; Space and Naval Warfare System Center Pacific Lab, San Diego; and
C-17 sorties in flight. Additionally, Navy Special Warfare Command executed operationally relevant scenario-based testing, demonstrating MUOS tactical communications capability with operational Navy personnel.
In 2015, the MUOS WCDMA system demonstrated the successful communication of Integrated Broadcast Service messages from the Joint Intelligence Operations Center Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to the Common Interactive Broadcast lab located in Fairfax, Virginia, and an in-flight test aircraft over Fort Worth, Texas, utilizing MUOS-capable Rockwell Collins ARC-210 demonstration radios. This showed how MUOS compliments and augments the existing IBS CIB. In April 2015, all MUOS WCDMA communication services were tested using the Navy’s new OE-538 submarine antenna.
In February 2016, MUOS WCDMA capabilities were demonstrated during a U.S. Army Pacific exercise in the Pacific Theater. Using the Army’s Manpack Radios and friendly-force tracker Joint Battle Command-Platform, with the Navy’s MUOS waveform, Soldiers were able to talk, text, share data and track a ship’s progress — from geographically diverse locations, both from land and at sea.
As a result of recent Combatant Commander inquiries on allied interoperability using the new MUOS WCDMA system, Office of the Secretary of Defense and Navy have explored options that will allow key allies access and potentially expand system capacity. In November 2015, U.S. Strategic Command announced a decision to allow allied nations access to the WCDMA payload on the MUOS satellites.
As the full fleet of MUOS satellites is deployed and the program is readied for full operations, PEO Space Systems and PMW 146 are committed to working with stakeholders to deliver the full MUOS end-to-end system capability to warfighters.
The MUOS program involves stakeholders from across government and industry, with the primary partnerships including the following program executive offices, systems commands and program offices:
Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications – Tactical (Army PEO C3T)
- Project Manager Tactical Radios (PM TR)
- Project Manager Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (PM WIN-T)
Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (Navy PEO C4I)
- Communications and GPS Navigation Program Office (PMW/A 170)
Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)
- Air Combat Electronics Program Office (PMA 209)
Program Executive Office Aviation (Army PEO Aviation)
- Product Manager for Aviation Mission Equipment (PM AME)
Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)
- SATCOM, Teleport and Services Program Executive Office
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- MUOS Fact Sheet