Microwave Journal

Lockheed Martin Team Completes Requirements Milestone for GPS IIIB Program

August 5, 2010

Lockheed Martin announced that it has successfully completed a key requirements review for the Global Positioning System (GPS) IIIB satellite series under the US Air Force's next generation GPS III Space Segment program. GPS III will improve position, navigation and timing services and provide advanced anti-jam capabilities yielding superior system security, accuracy and reliability for users around the globe.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Newtown, PA, is working under a $3 B development and production contract to produce up to 12 GPS IIIA satellites, with first launch projected for 2014. The contract, which features a "back to basics" acquisition approach to low-risk constellation sustainment and technology insertion, includes a capability insertion program (CIP) designed to mature technologies and perform rigorous systems engineering for the future IIIB and IIIC increments planned for follow-on procurements.

The Lockheed Martin-led team, which includes ITT, Clifton, NJ, and General Dynamics of Gilbert, AZ, recently completed a two-day GPS IIIB system requirements review (SRR) with the US Air Force at Lockheed Martin's facilities in Valley Forge, PA. Over 170 attendees participated in the SRR, including representatives from the US Air Force's GPS Wing, Air Force Space Command, the Defense Contract Management Agency, the OCX Ground Segment team, the Federal Aviation Administration and user communities.

"The GPS IIIB SRR was a success," said Lt. Col. Don Frew, GPS III Squadron Commander. "Lockheed Martin demonstrated to the government that the team is working to a solid requirements baseline and developing a mature design beyond what we normally see at a SRR. I want to thank the GPS III team for all their hard work and dedication." The successful review demonstrated to the customer and user community the Lockheed Martin team's understanding of the inherent product development and technology maturity risks, how they will be met, and the program's readiness to continue to the GPS IIIB System Design Review.

The GPS IIIA satellites will deliver significant improvements over current GPS space vehicles, including a new international civil signal (L1C) and increased M-Code anti-jam power with full earth coverage for military users. GPS IIIB will enable a cross-linked command and control architecture, allowing these GPS III vehicles to be updated from a single ground station instead of waiting for each satellite to orbit in view of a ground antenna. GPS IIIC will include a high-powered spot beam to deliver greater M-Code power for increased resistance to hostile jamming.

The team, which is progressing in the GPS IIIA Critical Design Review (CDR) phase of the program, has completed more than 80 percent of the planned CDRs and is well on its path to the overall space vehicle CDR in August, two months ahead of the planned schedule. Successful completion of the space vehicle CDR will allow the team to enter the production phase of the program.