Photo Information

U.S. Marines with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and I Marine Expeditionary Force, U.S. Space Force Guardians with Space Systems Command, and Mobile User Objective System Program Office personnel attend a MUOS presentation at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, Nov. 16, 2023. Members of Space Systems Command and the MUOS Program Office engaged with 3rd MAW and I Marine Expeditionary Force Marines to understand end-user considerations and see MUOS used at the tactical level. MUOS elevates Marine Corps warfighting capabilities by enhancing long-range, rapid communication and expanding the operational reach of the U.S. Armed Forces. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Daniel Childs)

Photo by Cpl. Daniel Childs

Enhancing Tactical Communications: Joint Digital Interoperability Showcased by USMC and USSF

30 Nov 2023 | Cpl. Daniel Childs 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

In a demonstration of U.S. Marine Corps’ evolving joint capabilities, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing showcased the compatibility of the Mobile User Objective System with CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd MAW, on Nov. 16, 2023. The event brought together U.S. Space Force Guardians with Space Systems Command, MUOS Program Office representatives, and Marines from across 3rd MAW and I Marine Expeditionary Force to witness the technology showcase.

The demonstration unfolded in line with SSC’s commitment to generate a new and powerful unity of effort across space systems’ mission areas, partners, and joint forces. The participating teams showcased and discussed the use of space-based capabilities and the direct operational support of MUOS with Marines and aircraft of 3rd MAW.

“The Space Force ensures the communications requirements of the Joint Force, including the U.S. Marine Corps, are met in a resilient and relevant manner for the tactical warfighter,” said U.S. Space Force Maj. Kevin Champaigne, the deputy for ground modernization with Space Systems Command.

MUOS is a USSF narrowband military communications satellite system that supports a worldwide, multi-service population of users, providing increased communications capabilities to newer, smaller terminals. Since 2019, MUOS has supported users who require greater mobility, higher bit rates and improved operational availability.

"Narrowband satellite communication is often the only source of reach-back communications available to tactical warfighters once they are out of range of terrestrial-based communications, making it a critical enabler for operating around the world in austere environments," Champaigne said.

MUOS expands not only wide-range communication, but also the operational reach of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force in support of the Joint Force. MUOS's ability to provide beyond line-of-sight communications on the move offers a lifeline for mounted and dismounted forces in austere and contested environments across the globe.

The demonstration illustrated how MUOS utilizes Wideband Code Division Multiple Access, which allows Marines to talk and share data in two directions at the same time. This is vital when operating MUOS in an austere environment from Marine Corps aircraft, such as the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter used in the demonstration.

Additionally, WCDMA helps manage the transmission of signals or information during communication and enables Marines to connect back to tactical networks, strategic networks, and weapon systems from the field. This allows for quick updates and enables rapid decision making in the field or forward locations.

“Marine Corps Aviation has done an outstanding job leveraging the adaptive acquisition framework to rapidly develop field capability solutions while keeping pace with the exponential acceleration of technological change across multiple industries,” Champaigne said.

MUOS attests to the resilience and relevance of communication assets in support of the tactical warfighter. The USSF’s development and implementation of an Integrated Mission Delta force structure assists in bridging the gap between space-based capabilities and operational support of the joint service. IMD provisional units organize all aspects of mission area readiness, such as personnel, training, equipment, and sustainment all into a single organization, creating unity of command at all levels of leadership.

“Benefits will include cohesive support and operations of space-based system to meet Service operational needs, resilience, and availability of space capabilities, and shorten the delivery of space-based systems and enhancements to deployed systems,” Champaigne said.

MUOS has been operational and deployed into various theaters for several years. The MUOS demonstration at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts between the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Space Force.

The event not only showcased the cutting-edge Digital Interoperability capabilities of MUOS and Marine Corps aviation, but also highlighted the commitment to advancing communication technologies to ensure the readiness and effectiveness of the joint force in future operations.

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