GPS III satellite

Lockheed Martin has awarded a follow-on contract to Northrop Grumman to deliver 48 additional self-deploying, monopole JIB antennas for the US Air Force’s (USAF) Global Positioning System (GPS III) satellite systems.

Secured by Astro Aerospace, the contract continues the company’s support of the GPS satellite constellation.

Astro Aerospace general manager John Alvarez said the antennas help both Lockheed and the air force to address affordability and mission assurance goals of the next generation GPS satellites.

"GPS III will improve position, navigation and timing services and provide advanced anti-jam capabilities yielding superior system security, accuracy and reliability," Alvarez added.

Available in monopole diameters from ½in to 1?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.

Each antenna is capable of being stowed up in a compact 4in x 4in x 2.5in canister.

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In addition to supplying 16 JIB antennas for the first two GPS III satellites in August 2011, Astro Aerospace has delivered over 1,000 JIB assemblies for the previous GPS IIF and GPS IIR satellite configurations.

Currently 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 first spacecraft is scheduled to join the on-orbit constellation in 2015.

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

Image: An illustration of the GPS III spacecraft in orbit.

Defence Technology