The U.S. Air Force’s Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellites aim to improve position, navigation, and timing services. By helping to provide advanced anti-jam capabilities, they will yield more secure, accurate, and reliable communications. Compared to legacy systems, the next-generation satellites are capable of delivering three times the position accuracy and eight times more power anti-jamming performance. Contracts were recently awarded to Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics for production of the satellites.
Specifically, the Air Forced awarded Lockheed Martin over $245 million in contract options to complete production of the seventh and eighth GPS III satellites. Lockheed Martin then awarded $26 million to General Dynamics for the network communications elements (NCEs) that will provide the satellite’s communications functions. With eight satellites now fully under contract, the program is currently moving from development into recurring production.
The first two contracted GPS III satellites are currently progressing through sequential integration and test work stations. The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The team’s goal is to affordably replace aging GPS satellites while improving capabilities for all users. The GPS III satellites will be the first to utilize the new L1C civil signal, which is designed for interoperability with international global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs).