AURORA, COThe US Air Force has selected Raytheon Co. for an initial contract of $886 million to develop a new element for the Global Positioning System (GPS). That element is tasked with improving the accuracy of information provided by GPS satellites. The contract represents the first two development blocks of the advanced control segment (OCX), which will have a significant impact on GPS capabilities. The OCX system will include anti-jam capabilities and improved security, accuracy, and reliability. It will be based on a modern service-oriented architecture to integrate government and industry open-system standards.

The Global Positioning System comprises three major segments: user, space, and control. The control segment includes a master control station and ground antennas. "The OCX concept was created to separate the control and space segments," says Bob Canty, GPS OCX Vice President and Program Manager for Raytheon. "Technologies were evolving so rapidly and were so critical to execution that specialized skills were needed. The GPS wing saw the same need for specialized expertise on GPS OCX."

The OCX is expected to dramatically affect GPS command, control, and mission capabilities. For example, it will make it easier for the operations team to run the current GPS block II and all future GPS satellites. Raytheon brings more than four decades of experience in satellite command and control systems to the OCX program. Teammates include the Boeing Co., ITT, Braxton Technologies, Infinity Systems Engineering, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The contract was awarded by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base.