Lockheed wins USAF GPS III satellite follow-on production contract

17 September 2018 (Last Updated September 17th, 2018 12:19)

Lockheed Martin has been selected for the follow-on contract to supply 22 new Global Positioning System III (GPS III) satellites to the US Air Force (USAF) for an estimated amount of up to $7.2bn.

Lockheed wins USAF GPS III satellite follow-on production contract
An artist’s impression of a GPS Block IIIA satellite in orbit. Credit: USAF.

Lockheed Martin has been selected for the follow-on contract to supply 22 new Global Positioning System III (GPS III) satellites to the US Air Force (USAF) for an estimated amount of up to $7.2bn.

The fixed-price-type production contract has been awarded for the Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center.

Located at Los Angeles Air Force Base (AFB), California, the facility serves as the USAF’s centre of excellence responsible for acquiring and developing military space systems.

USAF Secretary Heather Wilson said: “The world is dependent on GPS, from getting directions to getting cash from an ATM or trading on the stock exchange.

“These satellites will provide greater accuracy, and improved anti-jamming capabilities, making them more resilient.”

“The USAF operates 77 satellites that provide communications, command and control, missile warning, nuclear detonation detection, weather and GPS for the world.”

Under the follow-on contract, the first GPS IIIF satellite is expected to be available for launch in 2026.

The USAF serves as the lead agency for the Department of Defense (DoD) assigned to carry out the acquisition of the GPS III satellites.

Space and Missile Systems Center commander and USAF Space programme executive officer lieutenant general John F Thompson said: “Through this acquisition, we are demonstrating many of the principles of our SMC transformation.

“Getting to a manufacturing steady state in a fixed-price environment will allow us the opportunity to realise substantial cost savings, deliver on a planned schedule, and provide avenues for needed warfighter capability upgrades in the future.”

Currently, the USAF operates 77 satellites that provide communications, command and control, missile warning, nuclear detonation detection, weather and GPS for the world while strengthening and ensuring national security.

Weighing 3,680kg, the GPS III is a military communication satellite designed to provide modern anti-jam potentialities, superior system security, accuracy, reliability, and meliorated position, navigation and timing (PNT) services.