The US Air Force (USAF) Research Laboratory has given its consent to L3Harris Technologies to continue development of the Navigation Technology Satellite-3 (NTS-3) programme.

L3Harris has passed the preliminary design review for the NTS-3 experimental satellite, which is being developed for the US Air Force.

The programme examines ways to improve the resiliency of the positioning, navigation and timing capabilities of the military.

Furthermore, it will develop key technologies that are relevant to the global positioning system (GPS) constellation, with the transition expected to the GPS IIIF programme in the future.

L3Harris is developing experimental antennas, flexible and secure signals in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory, Space and Missile Systems Center, and US Space Force.

The company is also combining automation, and use of commercial command and control assets under this partnership.

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US Air Force NTS-3 programme manager Arlen Biersgreen said: “The NTS-3 vanguard is an experimental, end-to-end demonstration of agile, resilient space-based positioning, navigation, and timing.

“It has the potential for game-changing advancements to the way the airforce provides these critical capabilities to warfighters across the Department of Defense. The commitment demonstrated by the United States Space Force to partner with AFRL and support technology transition was a key element in NTS-3 being designated as an airforce vanguard in September 2019.”

In 2018, L3Harris was selected by the Space Enterprise Consortium for the $84m contract.

As the prime system integrator, the company was responsible for the design, development, integration and testing of NTS-3, including ground mission applications.

In August last year, L3Harris delivered its eighth navigation payload to Lockheed Martin for the US Air Force’s Global Positioning System III (GPS III) satellite programme.