At least some of the work on GPS III continues along prepared tracks, with the award of a Lockheed Martin contract to General Dynamics for two more satellites’ worth of communications hardware. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics, was awarded a $25.4 million full-production contract from Lockheed Martin to support the GPS III Network Communications Element (NCE) for space vehicles seven and eight (SV 07-08). This commitment fills out that aspect of the current Lockheed Martin bevy of eight bought by the U.S. Air Force.
Many if not all components of the GPS III constellation beyond the Initial Eight have been called into question recently, with the U.S. Senate, the Air Force, and Lockheed itself keeping open minds about alternatives.
General Dynamics’ NCE components provide the communications functions for the GPS III satellites, including the ground-to-space command and control channel, the space-to-space inter-satellite channel and the command and telemetry communications channels within each satellite. General Dynamics is now under contract with Lockheed Martin for GPS III SV 01-08. Delivery of the NCE components for SV03 and SV04 are scheduled for this summer.
Compared to prior GPS vehicles, the Air Force’s GPS III satellites will deliver three times better accuracy, provide up to eight times more powerful anti-jamming capabilities and include enhancements that extend spacecraft life 25 percent further. GPS III-series satellites also will carry a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems, enhancing civilian-user connectivity.
The majority of the work under contract will be performed at the General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems facilities in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Bloomington, Minnesota.