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November 8th, 2017

The Development of the Heart of the GPS III Satellite's Navigation Payload — the MDU — Completed by Harris Corporation

Harris Corporation (NYSE: HRS) has completed development of the company’s fully digital Mission Data Unit (MDU), which is at the heart of the firm's navigation payload for Lockheed Martin’s GPS III satellites 11 and beyond.

Photo of the advanced MDU on navigation payloads being delivered for GPS III Space Vehicles 1-10. Image is courtesy of Harris Corp.

The current Harris payload for GPS III space vehicles (SVs) 1-10 includes a greater than three times reduction in range error, up to eight times increase in anti-jamming power, added signals – including one compatible with other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) — and greater signal integrity. Harris’ GPS III SV11+ fully digital navigation payload will further improve on performance for the U.S. Air Force by providing more powerful signals, plus built-in flexibility to adapt to advances in GPS technology, as well as future changes in mission needs.

The payload design also ensures flawless atomic clock operations, providing the reliable GPS signal that millions of people — including U.S. soldiers — and billions of dollars in commerce depend on every day. It also will provide the clock signal for a new GPS III Search and Rescue (SAR) payload. Beyond flexibility and reliability, the new Harris SV11+ navigation payload offers a smooth transition to the Air Force’s GPS OCX ground control segment. The Harris payload for the first ten GPS III satellites already has been verified for OCX compatibility, and this will allow Harris to seamlessly port the Harris SV11+ design, minimizing integration risks and associated costs.
Bill Gattle, the President, Harris Space and Intelligence Systems, stated that this design is fully mature — an Engineering Development Model, not a prototype — and is ready to be inserted into GPS III SV11+ — the payload has the flexibility to serve the warfighter over the entire mission life and can be upgraded incrementally over its mission life due to built-in adaptability.