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Space Force Focuses on Lockheed Martin for GPS

July 28, 2022
The latest versions of GPS satellites feature improved accuracy, greater anti-jamming capabilities, and enhanced civilian signals.

As part of the modernization of orbiting Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, the U.S. Space Force (Air Force) has awarded Lockheed Martin Corp. an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract on the order of $581 million for GPS IIR, IIR-M, III, and IIIF on-orbit support. The engineering services will support systems in the GPS Block IIR/IIR-M/III/IIIF satellite constellation.

The Space Systems Command Directorate of Contracting, Peterson Space Force Base (Colorado Springs, Colo.) is the contracting unit. Work will be performed in Colorado Springs and Los Angeles, Calif.

According to Lockheed Martin, more than 4 billion users around the world rely on GPS signals that provide positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) signals. Owned and operated by the U.S. Air Force and now the U.S. Space Force, the GPS satellites are being viewed as more critical warfighting systems than civilian systems, with a need for maintaining reliable orbits.

Since the oldest GPS satellites were launched in the late 1990s, GPS satellites such as III and IIIF will be integrated into the constellation to improve accuracy and anti-jamming capabilities. The latest GPS satellite designs (see figure) employ a modular design to adapt to changes in technology and generate a new L1C civil signal that's compatible with international global navigation satellite systems, such as Europe’s Galileo system, for improved civilian user connectivity.

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