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JIB antenna

Lockheed Martin has taken delivery of self-deploying, monopole JIB antennas from Northrop Grumman for installation on the US Air Force (USAF) next-generation Global Positioning System III (GPS III) satellite.

Delivered by the company’s Astro Aerospace strategic business unit, the 32 antennas will be mounted on the third, fourth, fifth and sixth GPS III space vehicles.

Northrop is under contract to supply a total of 48 antennas for three through eight satellites.

Astro Aerospace Program Manager Dan Johansen said the company has delivered more than 1,000 JIB assemblies altogether for GPS IIF, GPS IIR and GPS III spacecraft, with a 100% on orbit success rate.

"The antennas we supply are designed to help Lockheed Martin and the Air Force meet affordability and mission assurance goals for the next generation of GPS satellites," Johansen said.

Available in monopole diametres from ½in to 1in in and any length up to 25ft, the JIB antennas feature an adaptable design configuration, and can also be easily modified according to specific applications.

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Each antenna is capable of being stowed up in a compact 4in x 4in x 2.5in canister, and after installation on GPS III satellite, will deploy to form an radio frequency (RF) antenna array.

The remaining 16 JIB antennas are scheduled to be delivered in early 2014.

Under development by Lockheed-led team, the GPS III is a next-generation communication satellite designed to replace the existing GPS constellation, which is used by the military and civilian customers to provide navigational information worldwide.

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, which ensures interoperability with other international global navigation satellite systems.

Lockheed is under contract to deliver four GPS III satellites to USAF, which is planning to procure up to 32 satellites types.

Image: Northrop Grumman’s GPS III JIB antenna assemblies in fully deployed configurations. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman.

Defence Technology