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US Air Force to issue tender for building GPS Block III satellites on April 19

09 April 2007: The U.S. Air Force will issue the formal request for proposals for the next generation of its Global Positioning System Space Segment Program, or GPS Block III, on April 19, said an announcement on the Federal Business Opportunities website.

The USAF expects to select either Lockheed Martin Corporation or The Boeing Company to build the GPS Block III satellites in late 2007. Lockheed Martin announced on April 5 that its design for the satellite system had completed a USAF review. Boeing’s design is expected to undergo a similar review from April 17-19.

Slated for launch starting in 2013, the GPS Block III satellites will offer more accurate, robust and jam-resistant signals than the navigation satellites currently in orbit. GPS Block III will enhance space-based navigation and performance and set a new world standard for positioning and timing services. The program will address the challenging military transformational and civil needs across the globe, including advanced anti-jam capabilities and improved system security, accuracy and reliability.

Lockheed Martin has completed on-schedule a system design review of GPS Block III. More than 100 representatives from the Department of Defense, including members of the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Space Command and Strategic Command, as well as the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration, recently attended a five-day system design review (SDR).

The review, which represented a significant interim milestone under a $49 million contract awarded in Nov. 2006, validated the detailed design of the GPS Block III system to ensure it meets military and civil user requirements. The USAF is expected to award a multi-billion dollar development contract to a single contractor team in late 2007.

For GPS III, the team of Lockheed Martin, ITT and General Dynamics is building on its proven record of providing progressively advanced spacecraft for the GPS constellation. The team designed and built 21 Block IIR satellites for the Global Positioning Systems Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Eight of the spacecraft, designated Block IIR-M, were successfully modernized and delivered to the customer to enhance operations and navigation signal performance for military and civilian GPS users around the globe.