USA: Harris Corporation has received a $243 million contract from Lockheed Martin to provide fully digital navigation signals for the first two GPS III Follow-On (GPS IIIF) satellites – to deliver stronger signals, with greater operational flexibility.
Harris’ GPS IIIF fully-digital Mission Data Unit (MDU), the heart of the satellite’s navigation payload which generates the GPS signals, will provide more powerful signals, assure flawless clock operations for GPS users, and add flexibility to adapt to advances in GPS technology, as well as future changes in mission needs. It will provide improved capabilities over Harris’ 70-percent-digital MDU used for GPS III Space Vehicles 01-10 (GPS III SV01-10).
The new MDU also offers the Air Force a smooth transition to its GPS OCX ground control segment. Harris will seamlessly port its digital signal design, minimizing both integration risks and associated costs.
In September 2018, the U.S. Air Force selected Lockheed Martin, with Harris as its navigation signal partner, to build up to 22 GPS IIIF satellites, with a total estimated contract value up to $7.2 billion.
The Air Force expects the first GPS IIIF satellite, SV11, to be available for launch in 2026.
Launched aboard GPS III SV01 in December 2018, Harris’ first GPS III navigation payload began broadcasting navigation signals on January 8. While testing of the first-of-its-kind satellite continues, the payload has performed beyond expectations.
Harris has provided navigation technology for every U.S. GPS satellite ever launched, enabling the reliable GPS signal that millions of people – including U.S. soldiers – and billions of dollars in commerce depend on every day.