The Navy’s Communications Satellite Program Office and Lockheed Martin handed over control of the fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite to the Naval Satellite Operations Center.

The handover “followed the successful completion of the MUOS-5 satellite’s on-orbit testing and delivery of all operational products needed to ‘fly’ the satellite,” according to a Lockheed Martin announcement.

The MUOS system includes four ground stations, each featuring three 19-meter antennas, four satellites, each about twice the size of a school bus, and an on-orbit spare.

The system is designed to provide smartphone like capabilities, including text, images and video, to mobile forces at rates 10 times faster than the legacy satellites.

“In April, the Navy, working with Army Forces Strategic Command [ARSTRAT], configured one of MUOS-5′s two communications payloads — its legacy Ultra High Frequency [UHF] payload — for testing.”

“The handover of this satellite to NAVSOC clears the final hurdle allowing for ARSTRAT to provide the payload’s final configurations to support the Navy’s legacy UHF satellite communications mission,” Lockheed Martin, the program’s prime contractor, said.

Each MUOS satellite is equipped with dual payloads to support both legacy narrowband UHF communications and the transition to next-generation Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) capabilities.

Users with new MUOS terminals will be able to seamlessly connect beyond line-of-sight around the world and into the Global Information Grid, as well as into the Defense Switched Network, as part of the Navy's worldwide cellular network.