Future GPS: The USA’s GPS-III Programs
September 28/18: SV11 & SV12 Lockheed Martin is being contracted to build a next increment of space vehicles. The company will produce GPS IIIF Space Vehicles 11 and 12 at a cost of $1.4 billion. This contract also includes the provision of non-recurring engineering efforts, testing the Space Vehicles in simulators and an option for the production of up to 22 GPS III Space Vehicles. The Space Vehicles are part of the US Air Force’s GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) program, which will add enhanced capabilities to the most advanced GPS satellites ever designed. The GPS IIIF program intends to produce up to 22 next-generation satellites. GPS III will have three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. GPS IIIF adds further power, resiliency and capabilities to GPS III. New features include a Regional Military Protection capability, a fully-digital navigation payload, a laser guided positioning system and a Search and Rescue payload. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s Littleton, Colorado factory and is expected to be completed by end of August 2027.
GPS-III satellites, in conjunction with their companion OCX ground control, system are the Global Positioning System (GPS) future. They offer big advantages over existing GPS-II satellites and GCS, but most of all, they have to work. Disruption or decay of the critical capabilities provided by the USA’s Navstar satellites would cripple both the US military, and many aspects of the global economy.
The time-based GPS service is the most-used application of Einstein’s Theories of Relativity. GPS has become part of civilian life in ways that go go far beyond those handy driving maps, including crop planting, timing services for stock trades, and a key role in credit card processing. At the same time, military class (M-code) GPS guidance can now be found in everything from cruise missiles and various precision-guided bombs, to battlefield rockets and even artillery shells. Combat search and rescue radios rely on this line of communication, and so does a broadening array of individual soldier equipment.
This DII FOCUS article looks at the existing constellation, GPS-III improvements, the program’s structure, its progress through contracts and key milestones, and extensive PTN (Positioning, Timing & Navigation)/ GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) research links.
GPS: The Existing Array
The GPS III Program
OCX & MGUE: New Ground Control & Receivers
GPS-III: Contracts and Key Events
FY 2014 – 2016
FY 2012 – 2013
FY 2010 – 2011
FY 2004 – 2009
GPS-III Program Background
Other GNSS Systems – and Alternatives
News and Views
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