Lockheed Martin Space Systems has received a $395m US Air Force (USAF) contract modification from the Space and Missile Systems Center for work on the GPS III Space Vehicle programme.

The deal covers hardware for the production of space vehicles nine and ten for the next-generation of GPS satellites.

Space and Missile Systems Center commander lieutenant general Samuel Greaves said: “The GPS III space vehicles nine and ten satellites are expected to be ready for launch in 2022, thus sustaining the GPS constellation and the global utility the world has come to expect.”

Work under the contract will be performed at Littleton, Colorado, and is expected to be complete by August 2022.

The government expects to complete future purchases of GPS III satellites, beginning with GPS III space vehicle 11.

Besides maintaining the current technical baseline of GPS III, this competition will add additional hosted payloads to increase system accuracy, search and rescue capability, and universal S-band compatibility.

"The deal covers hardware for the production of space vehicles nine and ten for the next-generation of GPS satellites."

Operated by the USAF Space Command, the GPS constellation provides precise positioning, navigation and timing services worldwide 24/7.

GPS III is said to improve position, navigation and timing services, as well as provide advanced anti-jam capabilities yielding superior system security, accuracy and reliability.

It will deliver signals three times more accurate than current GPS spacecraft and provide military users up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities, Lockheed said in a statement.

Image: A GPS III satellite. Photo: courtesy of the US Air Force.