NEWTOWN, Pa., June 1 (UPI) -- Engineering and operations support for the U.S. Air Force's new Global Positioning Satellites will be provided by Lockheed Martin under a $68 million contract.
The first two GPS III satellites, which will replace assets now in orbit and provide enhanced accuracy and anti-jamming power, will be available for launch in 2014 and 2015.
"Production of the first two GPS III satellites is progressing well and the flight operations contract will allow our team to ensure the satellites perform as planned throughout their mission lives," said Karen Gauthier, Lockheed Martin's GPS III Operations and Sustainment program manager.
"As we near our first launch exercise in August of this year, we are committed to delivering GPS III affordably and efficiently to meet the growing demand for GPS services worldwide."
Lockheed said that under the contract, technical support will be rendered to the Air Force's 2nd Space Operations Squadron. It will monitor the performance of the first two GPS III satellites from launch through their 15-year operational design lives. Lockheed will also support Launch and Checkout Capability operations at its facility in Newtown, Pa.
"The GPS III flight operations contract along with the Launch and Checkout Capability will better synchronize our GPS control and space segments to support the first launch of a GPS III satellite and ensure mission success," said Capt. Alex Rawling, the Air Force's GPS III Launch Operations lead.
"We are focused on delivering the critical GPS III capabilities to users as efficiently and affordably as possible."
The Air Force plans to acquire 32 GPS III satellites.