Lockheed Martin has received contract options to complete production of the US Air Force's (USAF) fifth and sixth next-generation global positioning system III (GPS III) satellites.
The newly awarded $200m contract options provides funding for completion of the fifth and sixth GPS III space vehicles (SV).
Lockheed was awarded a fixed price $120m contract by the USAF to purchase long lead parts for the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth satellites (SV 5-8) in February 2013.
Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems mission area vice-president Mark Stewart said, ''Lockheed Martin's GPS III program has a rigorous testing plan and mission success focus aligned with the Air Force's back-to-basics approach, and is specifically designed to enable predictable and affordable recurring production through disciplined development and early risk reduction.''
Full production funding for the next two space vehicles (SV 07-08) is expected to be awarded in 2014.
Already under contract for the production of the first four satellites (SV 1-4), Lockheed is currently manufacturing the first two spacecraft at its GPS III Processing Facility (GPF) in Denver, Colorado, US.
The GPS III is a family of next-generation satellites designed to replace USAF's existing GPS constellation, which provides location and time information in all weather conditions, while enhancing capability to address the emerging requirements of military, commercial and civilian users worldwide.
Capable of delivering enhanced accuracy, navigation and timing services, and anti-jamming power, the next-generation satellite feature enhancements that extend its service life by 25% than the GPS block, and a new L1C civil signal, which ensures interoperability with other international global navigation satellite systems.
The first GPS III satellite is expected to be launched from Cape Carnival Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida, US, in 2015.
Image: An impression of USAF's next-generation GPS III satellite in orbit. Photo: © 2013 Lockheed Martin Corporation.