Air Force Official Disputes GAO Report on Projected GPS Failure
[Satellite Today 05-26-09] The U.S. Air Force said that a report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), which claimed that the U.S. military GPS system is experiencing serious degradation, is not accurate, according to a May 25 statement by Air Force Col. Dave Buckman.
“The issue is under control,” said Buckman in an online press conference. “We are working hard to get out the word. The issue is not whether GPS will stop working. There’s only a small risk we will not continue to exceed our performance standard.”
The May 7 GAO report, “Global Positioning System: Significant Challenges in Sustaining and Upgrading Widely Used Capabilities,” said there is only an 80 percent likelihood that the Air Force would be able to maintain its full 24-satellite constellation over a period between 2010 and 2014, which could result in lower GPS performance.
Buckman said while he agreed that there is some risk of military GPS degradation, “GPS isn’t falling out of the sky. We have plans to mitigate risk and prevent a gap. … We have 30-plus satellites on orbit now. We’ll launch another in August 2009, and again in early 2010. Going below 24 won’t happen,” he said.