Personnel offload a shipping container, with a GPS Block IIIA Satellite Pathfinder inside, from a C-17 Globemaster III, operated by the 3d Airlift Squadron, Jan. 31, 2017, at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The GPS III Satellite Pathfinder was sent to Florida in December to validate the required transportation procedures needed to get a satellite to the launch facility. (Courtesy photo)
The Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin [LMT] a follow-on contract for the GPS Control Segment sustainment program to help the service further modernize its ground control systems as new GPS III satellites come online, the company said Jan. 10.
The GPS Control Segment Sustainment II (GCS II) indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract is worth $462 million and was awarded Dec. 21. It will “continue to sustain and further modernize the GPS satellite constellation’s ground control system through 2025,” the company said Thursday. It follows Lockheed Martin’s current GCS contract, which was awarded in 2013.
Under GCS II, Lockheed Martin will continue to upgrade the GPS Architecture Evolution Plan Operational Control Segment (AEP OCS), to allow legacy ground control systems to support GPS III satellite on-orbit operations as part of the company’s Contingency Operations (COps) program. The first GPS III satellite was launched Dec. 23 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Florida.
The COps update is serving as a gapfiller until the Air Force’s GPS Next-Generation Operational Control Segment (GPS OCX) comes online. Block 1 is expected to be fielded by 2021 or 2022, five to six years later than originally planned. Raytheon [RTN] is developing OCX, and delivered Block 0 to the Air Force in 2017.
GCS II will also support the military’s M-code capability that the Air Force plans to deploy in 2020. The new code, designed to improve anti-jamming capabilities and secure access to military signals, is currently in development under the M-code Early Use (MCEU) contract. “Operational M-code is a critical warfighter capability to support missions in contested environments,” Lockheed Martin said. Work will be performed in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2025.
Under the first GCS contract, Lockheed Martin performed a number of engineering modifications to the operational control segment that helped to modernize the infrastructure, improve its cyber posture and boost mission capability, Lockheed Martin said in its statement. “The GCS II contract continues that commitment to evolving the OCS to address today’s mission needs."
The company “will continue to manage the technical baselines for the OCS and GPS Information Network (GIN) and regularly procure, develop, fabricate, integrate, test, and install software and hardware modifications into the GPS operational baseline” under the new contract, Lockheed Martin added. Focus areas include a technical refresh of the GIN and increasing the resiliency of the operational control system.
“Lockheed Martin’s experience integrating GCS projects as well as the system engineering and software integration performed on GPS III Contingency Operations (COps) and M-Code Early Use (MCEU) position us well to deliver GCS II,” said Maria Demaree, vice president and general manager of mission solutions for Lockheed Martin Space, in the Thursday statement. “We look forward to supporting the Air Force as it deploys the next generation GPS III satellites and their new capabilities for our warfighters.”