Lockheed Martin has completed assembly of the third GPS III satellite intended for use by the US Air Force (USAF).
The GPS III Space Vehicle 03 (GPS III SV03), which is said to have three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities, will now undergo environmental testing.
The satellite has been equipped with system module, navigation payload and propulsion core.
Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems vice-president Mark Stewart said: “GPS III is the most powerful and complex GPS satellite ever designed and built, and it’s now into a smooth production flow.
The real credit goes to the airforce for all the Back to Basics work done in advance, reducing programme risk for all the GPS III satellites going forward.
“We are looking forward to bringing GPS III’s advanced capabilities to our warfighters in 2018.”
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The GPS III SV03 was assembled in Lockheed Martin’s GPS III processing facility built at a cost of $128m.
The facility has been designed in a virtual reality environment to drive efficiency and reduce costs in satellite production, Lockheed stated.
The second GPS III SV02 satellite recently completed integration, acoustic testing and entered the thermal vacuum testing phase in August. It is expected to be delivered to the USAF next year.
The GPS III SV04 is currently being integrated with a navigation payload, with plans to fully integrate the satellite in January.
Lockheed Martin will produce a total of ten GPS III satellites as part of the airforce’s modernised Global Positioning System programme.