The GPS III navigation payload features a Mission Data Unit (MDU) with a unique 70-percent digital design that links atomic clocks, radiation-hardened processors and powerful transmitters – enabling signals up to three times more accurate than any GPS satellites currently in operation. The payload also boosts signal power, which increases jamming resistance by eight times and helps extend the satellite’s lifespan.
In 2017, Harris announced that it completed development of an even more-capable, fully digital MDU for the Air Force’s GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) program. The new GPS IIIF payload design will further enhance the satellite’s capabilities and performance.
In September 2018, the U.S. Air Force selected Lockheed Martin for a fixed-price-type production contract for up to 22 GPS IIIF satellites. Harris is Lockheed Martin’s navigation signal partner for GPS IIIF satellites, and in January received a $243 million award to provide the navigation signals for the first two GPS IIIF satellites, space vehicles 11 and 12.
Harris’ expertise in creating and sending GPS signals extends back to the mid-1970s – providing navigation technology for every U.S. GPS satellite ever launched. While the Air Force originally developed GPS for warfighters, millions of people around the world and billions of dollars of commerce now depend on the accurate, reliable signal created and sent by Harris navigation technology.