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Lockheed Martin to Upgrade GPS Ground Systems for US Air Force

By | September 13, 2017
      GPS 3 SV02 at Lockheed Martin's processing facility near Denver, Colorado. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

      GPS 3 SV02 at Lockheed Martin’s processing facility near Denver, Colorado. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

      The U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $45.5 million contract to provide Military Code (M-Code) Early Use (MCEU) capability to the Global Positioning System (GPS).

      Part of the Air Force’s overall modernization plan for the GPS, M-Code is a new signal designed to improve anti-jamming and protection from spoofing, as well as to increase secure access, to military GPS signals for U.S. and allied armed forces.

      MCEU will provide command and control of M-Code capability to eight GPS 2R-M and 12 GPS 2F satellites currently on orbit, as well as future GPS 3 satellites, which the Air Force expects to begin launching in 2018. MCEU is envisioned as a way to accelerate M-Code’s deployment in order to support testing and fielding of modernized user equipment in support of the warfighter.

      The Air Force’s MCEU contract directs Lockheed Martin to upgrade the existing Architecture Evolution Plan (AEP) Operational Control System (OCS), allowing it to task, upload and monitor M-Code within the GPS constellation. The contract includes new software and hardware development which will be deployed in 2019 to world-wide ground facilities that support the Air Force’s GPS.

      The AEP OCS — currently maintained by Lockheed Martin under the GPS Control Segment (GCS) Sustainment Contract — controls the 12 GPS 2R, 8 2R-M and 12 2F satellites in orbit today. The company has successfully implemented several recent projects to modernize and sustain the system for the Air Force.

      In June, for example, Lockheed Martin deployed the first of its GPS Monitor Station Technology Improvement Capability (MSTIC) receivers at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The software-defined MSTIC system replaces 30-year-old hardware, positioning the Air Force to take advantage of Commercial Off-the-Shelf technology enhancements in processing power, reliability and cybersecurity in the future. Six Air Force AEP OCS monitoring stations around the world will receive the MSTIC upgrade by the end of 2017.