Photo Information

George Zueck, an electronics engineer with Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity, tests the tactical chat capability of a MUOS-ready manpack radio Oct. 5 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sky M. Laron)

Photo by Sky Laron

Tech support will aid battlefield communication

31 Oct 2017 | Sky M. Laron, Public Affairs Officer Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity

The ultra high frequency spectrum is the military’s workhorse, supporting more than 60 percent of Department of Defense satellite communication users.

A group of technical support officers, radio operators and electronics engineers from Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity put that horse through its paces testing new satellite-capable technology Sept. 13-Oct. 25 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

“The purpose of the test is to evaluate the Mobile User Objective System, or MUOS, waveform in a recent version upgrade,” said Capt. Michael Billings, a technical support officer supporting MCTSSA’s Program Engineering Support Group. “We are also testing the new MUOS antennas and diplexers needed to use the MUOS waveform.”

The MUOS is the Defense Department’s next-generation narrowband military satellite communications system. It will support a worldwide, multiservice population of UHF band users, providing increased communications capabilities to smaller terminals while still supporting interoperability with legacy terminals.

MCTSSA provides engineering leadership and support for Marine Corps and joint service command, control, computer, communications systems by investigating current and emerging technology, executing developmental test and evaluation activities, and providing advanced technical expertise to support the warfighter.

During this test, MCTSSA assessed the RT-1949 tactical radio’s ability to use the MUOS waveform for voice and data communication while on-the-move and at stationary positions, said Billings.

“When new and innovative C4 technology and devices are heading into the hands of Marines, or upgrades are being made to existing devices, it is our job here at MCTSSA to ensure those Marines get the best equipment possible,” said Col. Robert Bailey, MCTSSA commanding officer. “That is why our testing is so critical for overall mission success.”

MUOS is designed to support users that require mobility, high data rates and improved operational availability.

“This new satellite-based communications system will bring a vast amount of new capability to the Marine Corps, such as improved communications capacity that is more secure and reliable,” said Maj. James Topping, PESG deputy director. “The fact that this new system is interoperable with existing radios makes it more flexible to the user.”

MUOS adapts cellular phone network architecture and combines it with geosynchronous satellites to provide a new and more capable UHF system.

"MCTSSA has some of the smartest and most resilient personnel throughout the DoD,” said Topping. “Having them test MUOS is a great advantage to the program and will undoubtedly benefit the operating forces."

MCTSSA, the only elite full-scale laboratory facility operated by the Marine Corps, is a subordinate command of Marine Corps Systems Command. MCTSSA provides test and evaluation, engineering, and deployed technical support for Marine Corps and joint service command, control, computer, communications and intelligence systems throughout all acquisition life-cycle phases.

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