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Space Force orders 3 more GPS IIIF satellites from Lockheed

December 5, 2022  - By

The three new GPS satellites will be delivered under the third production option of the GPS III contract

Space Systems Command (SSC), a division of the U.S. Space Force, has exercised its third production option valued at $744 million for the procurement of three additional GPS III Follow-On satellites from Lockheed Martin.

The contract option covers GPS IIIF Space Vehicles (SVs) 18, 19 and 20.

GPS IIIF will provide several next-generation capabilities to meet increased demands of both military and civilian users. Building on the technical baseline of satellites 01 to 10, the newer satellites will provide increased anti-jam capabilities for the military with the addition of a Regional Military Protection capability.

Precision ranging measurements will be enabled by a laser retro-reflector array and will address the consolidation of telemetry, tracking and commanding frequencies.

Additionally, GPS IIIF leverages major international collaboration with the Canadian Department of National Defense and other U.S. government organizations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, and the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Search and Rescue (SAR) by hosting a new SAR payload.

This payload provides enhanced capabilities to the SAR mission with distress alert detection and location to 100 percent continuous global coverage and reduces location uncertainty to less than 5 km in support of 49 international partners.

Finally, the program will host a redesigned Nuclear Detonation Detection System that has a lower overall size, weight and power requirement.

“Along with our industry and government partners, the GPS IIIF team continues to add world-class capabilities that underpin U.S. national security needs to both our warfighters and civil users across the globe as the most utilized United States Space Force capability,” said Col. Jung Ha, GPS Space Vehicles senior materiel leader for SSC Military Communication and Positioning, Navigation and Timing.

The GPS IIIF SV11-12 satellites were included in the original GPS IIIF contract awarded to Lockheed Martin in September 2018 to build up to 22 GPS IIIF satellites. Under that contract, SSC exercised the first production option for SV13-14 in October 2020 and second production option for SV 15-17 in October 2021.

GPS IIIF’s M-Code can be broadcast from a high-gain directional antenna in a concentrated, high-powered spot beam, in addition to a wide-angle, full-Earth antenna. (Artist rendering: Lockheed Martin)

Artist’s rendering of a GPS III satellite. (Image: Lockheed Martin)

About Space Systems Command

Space Systems Command is the U.S. Space Force field command responsible for rapidly identifying, prototyping and fielding resilient space capabilities for joint warfighters.

SSC delivers sustainable joint space warfighting capabilities to defend the nation and its allies while disrupting adversaries in the contested space domain. SSC mission areas include launch acquisition and operations; space domain awareness; positioning, navigation, and timing; missile warning; satellite communication; and cross-mission ground, command and control and data.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.