US: The US Air Force is proposing to scale back its planned procurement of rockets and GPS navigation satellites in 2015 while beginning long-deferred work on a new weather satellite system. At this time last year, the Air Force was planning on buying two additional next-generation GPS III navigation satellites next year from prime contractor Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver. Now the service plans on buying just one, according to the budget documents. Currently Lockheed Martin is under contract to build eight GPS III satellites, which are designed to be more accurate and less vulnerable to enemy jamming than previous generations of GPS craft. With most of its investment in development of the new craft behind it, the Air Force expected to pay about $223 million apiece for two additional satellites in 2015.
The Air Force currently has 31 earlier-generation GPS satellites active on orbit and has launched five of the 12 satellites in the current series of satellites, called GPS IIF. The first GPS III satellite is scheduled to launch in late 2015.