Lockheed wins Air Force contracts for next set of GPS III satellites

The Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin two contracts totaling $120 million to procure long lead parts for four more next-generation Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, the company said Feb. 25.

Under the contracts, Lockheed will begin advanced procurement of long-lead components for the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth satellites. The company already is under contract for production of the first four GPS III satellites. The Air Force ultimately plans to purchase up to 32 GPS III satellites.

The new GPS III satellites will deliver better accuracy and improved anti-jamming power while enhancing the spacecraft’s design life and adding a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with international global navigation satellite systems, the company said.

The acquisition program for the GPS III satellites has changed from a cost-plus structure to a fixed-price structure, Lockheed Martin said.

“The GPS III program was laid out at the very beginning to reduce risk early and facilitate affordable satellite production over the long term,” Lt. Col. Todd Caldwell, the U.S. Air Force’s GPS III program manager, said in the statement. “This most recent award and our team’s ability to convert the contract structure to fixed price is a sign that we are on track to meet the affordability objectives and commitments we originally set out to achieve.”

The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Lockheed Martin is the GPS III prime contractor with teammates ITT Exelis, General Dynamics, Infinity Systems Engineering, Honeywell, ATK and other subcontractors.

The Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Operations Squadron, based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.

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