The US Air Force announced that a team led by Lockheed Martin has won the competition to build the next generation Global Positioning System (GPS) Space System Program, known as GPS III. This program will improve position, navigation and timing services for the warfighter and civilian users worldwide, and provide advanced anti-jam capabilities yielding superior system security, accuracy and reliability. “Lockheed is proud to serve as the Air Force’s partner on this critical national program,” said Joanne Maguire, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. “Our low-risk, back-to-basic solution is based on the team’s outstanding record of success in developing and evolving navigation satellites and we look forward to building a next-generation system that will deliver enhanced performance for military and civilian users around the globe.”

Under the $1.4 B development and production contract awarded by the secretary of the Air Force, Michael Wynne, and the Global Positioning System Wing, Space and Missile System Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA, the team of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., ITT Corp. and General Dynamics will produce eight GPS IIIA satellites, with first launch projected for 2014. The development contract will result in approximately 500 new jobs for Lockheed Martin. Eight GPS IIIB and 16 GPS IIIC satellites are planned for later increments, including additional capabilities based on technical maturity. When fully deployed, the GPS III constellation will feature a cross-linked command and control architecture, allowing the entire GPS constellation to be updated simultaneously from a single ground station. Additionally, a new spot beam capability for enhanced military (M-Code) coverage and increased resistance to hostile jamming will be incorporated. These enhancements will contribute to improve accuracy and assured availability for military and civilian users worldwide.

As the program’s Space System prime contractor, Lockheed Martin is leveraging its proven record of providing progressively advanced spacecraft for the current GPS constellation. The team designed and built 21 GPS IIR satellites for the Air Force and subsequently modernized eight of those spacecraft, designated GPS IIR-M, to enhance operations and navigation signal performance. For GPS III, Lockheed Martin’s program management and spacecraft development effort will occur at its facility in Newtown, PA, with final assembly, integration and tests located in Denver, CO. The company’s Sunnyvale, CA, operations will provide various spacecraft components and a launch support team will be based at Cape Canaveral, FL. Lockheed Martin’s flight-proven A2100 bus will serve as the GPS III spacecraft platform. ITT, Clifton, NJ, will provide the navigation payload, and General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Gilbert, AZ, will provide the Network Communication Element (NCE), which includes the UHF Crosslink and Tracking Telemetry and Command (TT&C) subsystems.