September 06, 2018-
Once the next-generation GPS III satellites begin launching later this year, a series of updates to the current ground control system from Lockheed Martin (LMT) will help the U.S. Air Force gain early command and control of the new satellites for testing and operations.
In 2016 and 2017, the Air Force placed Lockheed Martin under two contracts, called GPS III Contingency Operations (COps) and M-Code Early Use (MCEU), which directed the company to upgrade the existing Architecture Evolution Plan (AEP) Operational Control System (OCS), which operates today’s GPS constellation. These upgrades to the AEP OCS are intended to serve as gap fillers prior to the entire GPS constellation’s operational transition to the next generation Operational Control System (OCX) Block 1, now in development.
In April 2018, the Air Force approved Lockheed Martin’s critical design for MCEU, essentially providing a “green light” for the company to proceed with software development and systems engineering to deploy the M-Code upgrade to the legacy AEP OCS. The Air Force gave a similar nod to COps in November 2016. COps is now on schedule for delivery in May 2019 and MCEU is scheduled for delivery in January 2020.
“The Air Force declared the first GPS III satellite ‘Available for Launch’ last year, and it’s expected to launch later this year. Nine more GPS III satellites are following close behind in production flow,” explained Johnathon Caldwell, Lockheed Martin’s program manager for Navigation Systems. “GPS III is coming soon, and as these satellites are launched, COps and MCEU will allow the Air Force the opportunity to integrate these satellites into the constellation and to start testing some of GPS III’s advanced capabilities even earlier.”
Source : Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT)
Publish date: April 2018 - Pages: 233
Publish date: June 2018 - Pages: 217