VIDEO: US Navy’s MUOS Satellites Herald New Age in Polar Communications

US Navy's MUOS Satellites Herald New Age in Polar Communications

The U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellites could aid to solving communication challenges in the Arctic, Lockheed Martin’s team proved during tests staged late last year. As the area attracts more interest for shipping, scientific exploration and even tourism, the demand for greater coverage narrowly follows due to simultaneous rise in demands for search and rescue activities.


Having in mind the lack of necessary infrastructure, the communication needs could be met from the sky, namely the existing satellites. The U.S. Navy’s MUOS uses the same technology applied in smart phones, however this was the first time it was used for secure streamlining of voice and data in the region.

Lockheed Martin’s testing of transmission capabilities included two rounds of multi-hour flights aboard an L-100 aircraft, the commercial variant of the C-130 Hercules, which took to the sky  from Barrow, Alaska.

Three terminal providers developing MUOS-compatible radios were on board, including the General Dynamics PRC-155 Manpack, the Harris PRC-117G Manpack and the Rockwell Collins ARC-210 V5 airborne terminal,  Lockheed Martin said in a press release. MUOS voice and data signals reached much farther north than previously thought, just 30 miles and 0.5 degrees of latitude shy of the North Pole, showing the system’s advantage over legacy satellite communications.

 “This joint testing gave us important system operation data at extreme conditions,” said Dr. Amy Sun, Narrowband Advanced Programs lead at Lockheed Martin. “ Using MUOS, we were able communicate from the aircraft at high latitudes, which wasn’t the case for the legacy Ultra High Frequency signal.”

Lockheed Martin plans on evaluating MUOS signal in Antarctic as well.

Naval Today Staff, February 3, 2014; Image: Lockheed Martin