The production of the ninth and tenth Global Positioning System III (GPS III) satellites has been awarded to Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) by the US Air Force (USAF) with a $395 million contract.
GPS III satellites will deliver three times better accuracy, provide up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities and extend spacecraft life to 15 years, 25 percent longer than any GPS satellites on orbit today. GPS III’s new L1C civil signal also will make this the first GPS satellite to be interoperable with other international, global, navigation satellite systems. The contract includes funding for long-lead items and full production for the next two space vehicles (SVs) in the Air Force’s nexgen GPS III constellation. The first eight GPS III satellites are already under contract and in production at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility outside of Denver.
The Lockheed Martin team is finishing up final testing and integration activities on the first GPS III satellite, GPS III SV01, and is preparing to deliver is spacecraft to the USAF later this year. The second satellite, GPS III SV02, is poised to have the major functional systems fully integrated into one space vehicle prior to the start of environmental testing. GPS III SV03 also is starting to take form in the company’s production clean room as the major subcomponents are being assembled.
The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC). Air Force Space Command’s 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.