The Defense Department is moving forward with launching communication satellites that is expected to maintain communication for mobile troops and increase data transfer, GCN reports.
The Pentagon, which frequently leases commercial satellites, launched the first Mobile User Objective System satellite in February.
The military wants to use the satellites for on-the-move communications, according to the report.
The MUOS program, once complete, will be a constellation of five geostationary satellites that GCN reports will enable troops to conduct videoconferencing on-the-move.
Each of the satellites will contain two segments, using a combination of ultra high frequency and 3G cellular technologies.
UHF signals can reportedly penetrate urban areas, jungles and work in extreme weather conditions.
The military expects the 3G technology to increase the signal’s speed, according to GCN.
Navy Capt. Paul Ghyzel, program manager for the Navy communications satellite program office, said MUOS should provide military branches and allies worldwide coverage and new networked capabilities.
The satellite launched in February will not have communication capabilities until the second satellite is launched next summer, GCN reported.
The first satellite will be stationed in the middle of the Pacific at first but Ghyzel said the military has not yet decided what region it will support following its first location assignment.
Ghyzel said that if the second satellite launch is successful, the military would launch the succeeding three satellites once a year.
In the mean time, the military will complete engineering tests on the satellites and ground stations that will support the satellites and the Navy’s Joint Tactical Radio System-developed waveform.
Those tests could bring the satellite project’s total cost to $5.3 billion, Ghyzel said.
The last three satellites are being produced under fixed-price programs with ceilings of $330 million per launch, Ghyzel said.
Mark Pasquale, vice president and MUOS program manager at Lockheed Martin, said the company has purchased hardware ahead of Naval requests in order to keep the production lines running.
Ghyzel said MUOS satellite control will be handled from Point Mugu, Calif. and other ground stations in Hawaii; Norfolk, Va.; Western Australia; and Niscemi, Italy.