The Navy’s fourth Mobile User Objective Systems (MUOS) satellite, which acts as a “smart phone network in space,” successfully launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., on Wednesday. “MUOS is a Navy-led program, but we work closely with the Army and Air Force to deliver worldwide tactical satellite communications to the joint warfighter,” said Navy Capt. Joe Kan, communications satellites program office program manager, in a Sept. 2 Los Angeles Air Force Base release. The fourth Lockheed Martin-built MUOS satellite, which is slated to reach full operational capability in 2017 after undergoing several multi-service tests, “completes the initial MUOS constellation,” 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 to a MUOS terminal.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.