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We propose maximum-likelihood sequence estimator (MLSE) equalizers based on either Viterbi algorithm or template matching temple matching (TM) for the equalization of impairments imposed on the minimum shift keying (MSK) modulation formats in long haul transmission without optical dispersion compensation. The TM-MLSE equalizer is proposed as a simplified alternative for the Viterbi-MLSE equalizer. It is verified that the Viterbi-MLSE equalizer can operate optimally when noise approaches a Gaussian distribution. Simulation results of the performances of the two MLSE equalizers for optical frequency discrimination receiver-based optical MSK systems are described. The transmission performance is evaluated in terms of: (1) the chromatic dispersion (CD) tolerance for both Viterbi-MLSE and TM-MLSE equalizers; (2) transmission distance limits of Viterbi-MLSE equalizers with various number of states; (3)the robustness to fiber polarization mode dispersion (PMD) of Viterbi-MLSE equalizers; and (4) performance improvements for Viterbi-MLSE equalizers when utilizing sampling schemes with two and four samples per bit over the conventional single sample per bit. With a small number of states (64 states), the non-compensating optical link can equivalently reach up to approximately 928 km SSMF for 10 Gb/s transmission or 58 km SSMF for 40 Gb/s. The performance of 16-state Viterbi-MLSE equalizers for optical frequency discrimination receiver (OFDR)-based optical MSK transmission systems for PMD mitigation is also numerically investigated. The performance of Viterbi-MLSE equalizers can be further improved by using the sampling schemes with multiple samples per bit compared to the conventional single sample bit. The equalizer also offers high robustness to fiber PMD impairment.