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Mobile User Objective System (MUOS)

The Navy Advanced Narrowband System (ANS)/Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) is being developed as a replacement to the UFO constellation, with a production award anticipated in 2004. It will provide global SATCOM narrowband (64kpbs and below) connectivity for voice, video and data for U.S. and Allied services. The program is being executed as a multi-phased program. As the lead service for UHF MILSATCOM, the Navy (SPAWAR) has been charged with the acquisition responsibility for MUOS. The first phase, a 21-month Concept Exploration phase, was completed in July 2001. Eight industry teams of commercial and Defense Department contractors studied and recommended system concepts and architectures to meet MUOS requirements. Boeing, Globalstar, ICO/Teledesic, INMARSAT, Orbital Sciences, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Spectrum Astro participated in the evaluation of military and commercial concepts.

The Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) will be a network of DOD-controlled satellites and associated ground facilities providing narrowband BLOS communication services for a worldwide population of mobile and fixed site terminal users. The ground control segment will feature a distributed, government-controlled, precedence and priority based resource management system that will be responsive to the communications requirements of commanders with apportioned resources.

The Mobile User Objective System is being developed as a replacement to the UFO (UHF Follow On) constellation for IOC in 2007. It will provide global SATCOM narrowband (64kpbs and below) connectivity for voice, video and data for US and Allied services. The MUOS study is part of an ACAT-1D program headed by SPAWAR to develop a system for the mobile user-on-the-move. Key trade analyses are needed for waveform selection (DS-SS CDMA, TDMA, DAMA, etc.), effects of real world interference and fading (ionospheric scintillation, etc.), antenna and multi-element beam array and active phased array beam designs.

In November 1999 the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command awarded four contracts valued at $700,000 each for Advanced Narrowband System / Mobile User Objective System concept studies. Awards for the concept studies were made to Hughes Space & Communications Company of Los Angeles, Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space of Sunnyvale, Calif., Raytheon Systems Company of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Spectrum Astro, Inc., of Gilbert, Ariz.

More than 20 companies initially indicated interest in the concept studies during an industry day held by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (known as SPAWAR). Four offers were received with multiple companies forming teams to compete for the study awards. The period of performance is six months. These contracts are funded with Research, Development, Test & Evaluation funds. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego is the contracting activity.

MUOS is the first PEO-SCS contracting effort that uses a Statement of Objectives (SOO) versus Statement of Work (SOW) in the Request for Proposal. A SOW is basically the Government telling a contractor what to do and how to do it. A SOO outlines what the Government requirements are and gives the contractor the flexibility to propose what the solution should be to meet these requirements.

Advanced narrowband communications technology and the Navy's Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) will replace the current Navy Fleet Satellite Communications (FltSat) satellites and Ultra High Frequency Follow-On (UFO) communications satellite constellation over the next two decades. The Navy's UHF communications satellite constellation currently provides narrowband tactical satellite communications to the Defense Department warfighter. The UHF Follow-On constellation, initially launched in 1993, will begin to reach the end of its design life early in the 21st century.

The Navy has developed an acquisition strategy to replace the current UHF communications satellite constellation. That strategy consists of three components: (1) procure an 11th UHF Follow-On communications satellite (F11) for launch in late 2003, (2) use commercial satellite assets as much as practical, and (3) procure the MUOS next generation advanced narrowband satellite communications system with an initial operational capability in 2007.

The Mobile User Objective System acquisition will employ full and open competition for multiple small research and development awards beginning in early fiscal year 2000. Follow-up risk reduction contracts will begin in FY 2001 and a combined Engineering and Manufacturing Development / Production contract will be awarded in FY 2003.

The Navy is acquiring MUOS under new DoD National Security Space Policy directives tailored for space programs. Three acquisition phases are planned, each utilizing full and open competition. The first phase or study phase was broken into two sequential contracted events. The first study event, a 21-month effort for concept exploration, is done. Six industry teams, consisting of commercial and DoD contractors, studied and recommended system concepts and architectures to meet MUOS Operational Requirements Document needs. The second study event, currently underway, is a planned 14-month task using two contractor teams selected to refine the architecture and develop technology. The second phase, Risk Reduction and Design Development, will develop and launch the first satellite along with associated ground infrastructure. The third phase, Acquisition and Operations Support, will procure and support the remainder of the satellites and associated segments. Initial Operational Capability is projected for 2008.

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