DENVER, Dec. 12 (UPI) — Lockheed Martin has passed a Critical Design Review for its planned GPS III upgrades, allowing it to move forward with its contract with the U.S. Air Force.
The company inked the $96 million Contingency Operations services deal with the Air Force in February, tasking it with bolstering the existing GPS ground control system’s ability to operate more powerful satellites in the future.
“The GPS constellation is a valuable asset to our warfighters, our nation and the world. This risk-reduction effort ensures the Air Force has the ability to maintain the constellation at full strength,” Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems vice president Mark Stewart said in a press release. “We are here to support the Air Force and the GPS III program any way we can.”
The approval follows Lockheed Martin’s completion of a separate contract supporting the GPS system in October, which aimed to enhance the ground control system’s cybersecurity capabilities. The enhancements were part of the Architecture Evolution Plan, which currently controls 31 GPS IIR, IIR-M, and IIF satellites currently in orbit.
The Air Force plans to continue contracting Lockheed Martin for GPS-related operations in the future. The company is currently building the first 10 GPS satellites, which they say will deliver three times the accuracy their predecessors.