Lockheed Martin has awarded a contract to General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems to provide network communication systems for two more Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellites.
The $24.5m contract requires General Dynamics to supply network communication element (NCE) components, including the ground-to-space command and control channel, the space-to-space inter-satellite channel and the command and telemetry communications channels within each satellite.
The current contract pertains to the seventh and the eighth satellites (SV07 and SV08) while the company is already under contract for the first six.
The NCE contract for fifth and sixth satellites was awarded in March. Delivery of the NCE components for SV03 and SV04 are scheduled for this year.
General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems vice-president and general manager of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Carlo Zaffanella said: "Our continued close work with Lockheed Martin on the GPS III programme, coupled with our in-depth mission understanding, allows us to provide the air force with the next-generation of reliable and affordable solutions to replace the aging constellation of GPS satellites currently in orbit."
The US Air Force's (USAF) GPS III satellites are being developed to replace the previous GPS infrastructure.
In addition to having better accuracy and more powerful anti-jamming capabilities, the GPS III extends spacecraft life by 25%.
The GPS III-series satellites carry a new civil signal that is interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems.
Lockheed Martin has received a contract from the USAF in April to complete the production of the seventh and eighth satellites. The contract for fifth and sixth was awarded in December last year.
Image: The US Air Force's GPS III satellites are being developed to replace the previous GPS infrastructure. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin.