Lockheed awarded $200 million USAF contract to further GPS program

Lockheed, GPSIII, AHILockheed Martin Space Systems, which has a large presence in Colorado Springs, has been awarded more than $200 million in contract options for the U.S. Air Force’s GPS satellite program.

The defense contractor announced in a news release Monday that the contracts are for the completion of its fifth and sixth generation Global Positioning Systems satellites, known as GPS III.

Lockheed was awarded $120 million to “procure long lead parts for a second set of found GPS III space vehicles. This new award provides funding to complete the first two satellites,” which officials said in the release are still on the production floor at Lockheed’s GPS III Processing Facility in Denver.

Funding for the production of the next two vehicles — amounting to six total — is expected in 2014.

“Lockheed Martin’s GPS III program has a rigorous testing plan and mission success focus aligned with the Air Force’s back-to-basics approach, and is specifically designed to enable predictable and affordable recurring production through disciplined development and early risk reduction,” said Mark Stewart, vice president of Navigation Systems, in the release.

The GPS program is aimed at affordably replacing aging satellites for the U.S. Air Force. According to the release, the new generation of satellites “will deliver three times better accuracy; provide up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities; and include enhancements which extend spacecraft life 25 percent further than the prior GPS block.”

Lockheed is the prime contractor for GPS III and works with subcontractors including Springs-based Exelis as well as General Dynamics, Infinity Systems Engineering, Honeywell and ATK, all of which have locations in the city.

The 2nd Space Operations Squadron of Air Force Space Command, which is based at Schriever Air Force Base in the Springs, manages and operates the GPS program for both military and civil users.