Harris delivers third navigation payload for USAF's GPS III satellites


Harris has completed the delivery of a third advanced navigation payload for the US Air Force's (USAF) GPS III satellites.

The company plans to deliver a total of ten advanced navigation payloads for the Lockheed Martin-built GPS III satellites, which are designed to increase accuracy, signal power and jamming resistance.

The GPS III satellites are claimed to deliver signals three times more accurate than current GPS spacecraft, and possess anti-jamming capabilities eight times more powerful than previous models.

Lockheed will integrate the new 70% digital payload into the GPS III Space Vehicle 3 (GPS III SV03) later this year.

Harris Space and Intelligence Systems president Bill Gattle said: “We are now in full production and on target to deliver the fourth GPS III navigation payload to Lockheed Martin this autumn.

“Our payloads help US and allied soldiers complete their missions, enable billions of dollars in commerce and benefit the everyday lives of millions of people around the world.”

The GPS III navigation payloads are equipped with a mission data unit (MDU) that links atomic clocks, radiation-hardened computers and powerful transmitters.

"Our payloads help US and allied soldiers complete their missions, enable billions of dollars in commerce and benefit the everyday lives of millions of people around the world."

Lockheed integrated Harris’ second navigation payload into GPS III SV02 in May.

The first navigation payload was previously integrated aboard GPS III SV01, which has now completed rigorous testing and will be kept in storage until its expected launch in 2018.

Additionally, Harris is developing a fully digital MDU for the USAF’s GPS III Space Vehicles 11+ acquisition.

The new MDU will be demonstrated this autumn and is expected to provide even greater flexibility, affordability and accuracy compared to existing GPS satellites.


Image: Harris navigation payloads are already integrated in the first GPS III space vehicle. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin.