NEWTOWN, Pa., Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force's next generation Global Positioning System has successfully completed the program's critical design review.
Lockheed Martin, leading the design team, said the CDR was conducted two months ahead of the baseline schedule.
Review completion opens the way for production of the system.
"This successful review demonstrated with high confidence that our low-risk GPS III design will meet warfighter and civil user requirements and that we are fully prepared to enter the production phase of this vitally important program," said Joe Trench, Lockheed Martin's vice president of Navigation Systems. "Working in partnership with the Air Force, we look forward to building on our momentum to achieve our customer's cost, schedule and performance requirements for this essential program."
The Air Force's GPS constellation provides critical situational awareness and precision weapon guidance for the military and supports a wide range of civil, scientific and commercial functions.
GPS III will improve position, navigation and timing services and provide advanced anti-jamming capabilities, yielding superior system security, accuracy and reliability, Lockheed Martin said.
The next generation GPS IIIA satellites will guarantee signals three times more accurate than current GPS spacecraft and provide three times more power for military users, while also adding a new civil signal -- L1C -- that is designed to be interoperable with other global navigation satellite systems.
Lockheed's team in development of the SPS III includes ITT of Clifton, N.J., and General Dynamics of Scottsdale, Ariz.
The Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center had awarded the development and production contract for as many as 12 GPS IIIA contract for the program, worth $3 billion.
The team is on track to launch the first GPS IIIA satellite in 2014, Lockheed Martin said.