General Dynamics (GD) subsidiary General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems has been awarded a contract to provide network communications element (NCE) for additional US Air Force’s (USAF) Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellites.
Awarded by Lockheed Martin, the $26m contract provides the company with funding to complete the NCE for fifth and sixth GPS III space vehicles (SV05 and SV06).
General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance vice-president and general manager Kirstan Rock said the company brings more than a half-century of experience in the spacecraft communications and navigation domain to the GPS III programme.
"We look forward to continuing working with Lockheed Martin to deliver high-quality, reliable and affordable solutions to the air force to advance their mission," Rock said.
GD is already under contract with Lockheed to produce the NCE for SV01 to SV04 satellites, as well as for the procurement of long lead material for the second set comprising SV05 to SV08.
The NCE components provide a range of communications functions for the GPS III satellites, including the ground-to-space command and control channel, the space-to-space inter-satellite channel, as well as the command and telemetry communications channels within each satellite.
GD has already delivered NCE components for SV01 and SV02, while the NCEs for SV03 and SV04 are scheduled to be handed over to Lockheed by June 2014.
Delivery schedule for the latest contract remains undisclosed.
Under development by Lockheed-led team, the GPS III is a next-generation communication satellite designed to replace the existing GPS constellation used by the military and civilian customers to offer navigational information across the globe.
Capable of delivering enhanced accuracy, navigation and timing services, and anti-jamming power, the satellites feature enhancements that extend its service life by 25% than the GPS block, and carry a new L1C civil signal that ensures interoperability with other international global navigation satellite systems.
Image: An artist’s impression of GPS III communication satellite in Orbit. Photo: courtesy of USAF.