The latest satellite in the Navy’s new communication network is set to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. on Jan. 20, the service announced on Wednesday.
The Lockheed Martin Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) will ride an Atlas V heavy rocket from the Florida launch pad to a geostationary orbit as the third in the planned constellation of five.
The $7.3 billion MUOS system promises to provide U.S. military units with high bandwidth communications around the world — once the constellation goes up — eclipsing the Department of Defense’s existing 1990s era Ultra High Frequency Follow-On (UFO) radios.
“This third MUOS launch is another major step toward achieving a fully operational MUOS end-to-end capability by 2016,” said Navy Capt. Joseph Kan, the MUOS program manager in a statement.
“The Navy, in close collaboration with the Army, Air Force and our industry partners, is bringing the future of worldwide mobile satellite communications into reality for the United States and potentially allied nations.”
The first satellite launched in 2012 and the second in 2013.
The satellites are paired with four ground stations in Hawaii, Italy, Western Australia and Chesapeake, Va.
MUOS was originally to be paired with the Pentagon’s Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program that was cancelled in 2011. Now there are few program of record radios for the systems, though General Dynamics, Rockwell Collins and Harris have developed MUOS compatible radios.