A ground station antenna system for the Mobile User Objective System was installed in Hawaii for data exchanges with satellites, General Dynamics Corp. [GD] announced.

A GD unit, C4 Systems, installed three 18.4-meter (60.37 foot) satellite antennas on 53-foot-tall pedestals in Wahiawa, Hawaii.

MUOS, a planet-wide satellite communications system, will provide cell phone-like services to ground-based warfighters around the globe, with satellites acting as "cell towers" in space.

The system will enable users to communicate directly with each other and their commanders virtually anywhere in the world.

The Wahiawa ground station is the first of four that will be equipped with MUOS satellite antenna systems. The other MUOS ground stations will be located in Norfolk, Va.; Geraldton, Australia; and Niscemi, Italy.

"MUOS earth terminals utilize a state-of-the-art Ka-Band antenna designed with highly accurate auto-tracking to meet system performance and availability," said John Weidman, vice president of national systems for GD C4 Systems. "The large 18.4 meter antenna design pushes the envelope of what has been fielded in this frequency band in the past."

MUOS leverages third generation (3G) Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) cellular phone technology in the ground segment.

The MUOS Ground System provides communications and controls interfaces between the MUOS satellites and Department of Defense Earth-based communication networks.

It features earth-terminal infrastructure and Internet Protocol (IP) connectivity, including switching facilities, network management and satellite command-and-control elements.

Additionally, GD is developing the MUOS User Entry Terminal Waveform software library for future use by radios being developed under the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program. The company also will engineer the wireless protocol for communication between user terminals and the satellites.

GD began work in September 2004 with the MUOS prime contractor — Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] unit Space Systems – under a $2 billion contract to provide the user-entry and integrated ground segments for the MUOS system. The first MUOS satellite is scheduled for on-orbit hand-over to the Navy in 2010 along with the entire ground system.