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Space Force initiates MUOS Service Life Extension with Lockheed Martin design contract
The fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite is seen in Lockheed Martin's Sunnyvale, California, satellite manufacturing facility prior to launch.
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Space Force initiates MUOS Service Life Extension with Lockheed Martin design contract
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Feb 05, 2024

The U.S. Space Force's Space Systems Command has taken a significant step towards enhancing global military communications by contracting Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] for the early design of two additional satellites under the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) Service Life Extension (SLE) program. With a firm-fixed-price agreement valued at $66 million, this initiative focuses on risk reduction activities and preliminary design efforts, aiming to fortify the MUOS network into the 2030s.

The MUOS network, a cornerstone of U.S. military global communication capabilities, relies on a constellation of satellites providing ultra-high frequency (UHF) voice and data communications. Currently, the network comprises four active satellites and one on-orbit spare, all developed and maintained by Lockheed Martin. The SLE program's goal is to ensure the continuation of four fully operational satellites, with additional spares to support legacy UHF channels, thereby extending the network's advanced capabilities.

Joe Rickers, Vice President for Connectivity, Transport and Access missions at Lockheed Martin Space, emphasized the transformative impact of MUOS on military communications, stating, "Lockheed Martin revolutionized military communications for mobile forces by developing MUOS, which provides simultaneous, crystal-clear voice, video and mission data that extends connections beyond line-of-sight around the world." He further noted the company's commitment to leveraging its extensive experience in military satellite communications to meet the evolving needs of the warfighter.

The MUOS SLE Phase 1 encompasses a one-year base period, with an option to extend for an additional six months. This phase is designed to mitigate risks through early design activities, laying the groundwork for Phase 2, which involves the final design, production, testing, and delivery of two space vehicles. Phase 2, expected to culminate in the launch of the new satellites by 2030, will be a separate competition.

MUOS stands out for its use of the advanced Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) waveform, which offers warfighters tenfold the communications capacity compared to the legacy UHF SATCOM system.

Moreover, the system is designed for interoperability with legacy UHF terminals. Since its early use and testing approval in 2017, MUOS has been instrumental in various missions, including humanitarian response and disaster relief, and has been rigorously tested for cybersecurity and warfighting environment suitability, receiving full approval in 2019.

An important milestone was reached recently when Canada became the first partner nation to successfully access the MUOS Narrowband Global SATCOM System, highlighting the program's international significance.

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