|Country of origin||United States|
|Operator||United States Air Force|
|Bus||Lockheed Martin A2100M |
|On order||22 |
|Maiden launch||2026 (planned)|
|Last launch||2034 (planned)|
|Derived from||GPS Block III|
GPS Block IIIF, or GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF), is the second set of GPS III satellites, consisting of 22 space vehicles. The United States Air Force began the GPS Block IIIF acquisition effort in 2016, and awarded a US$7.2 billion manufacturing contract for all 22 space vehicles to Lockheed Martin on 14 September 2018. The 22 satellites in Block IIIF are projected to be delivered starting in 2026, with launches estimated to last through at least 2034.
The U.S. Air Force employed a two-phase competitive bid acquisition process for the GPS Block IIIF satellites.
On 5 May 2016, the U.S. Air Force awarded three Phase One Production Readiness Feasibility Assessment contracts for GPS III Space Vehicles (SV's) 11+, one each to Boeing Network and Space Systems, Martin Space Systems Company, and Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. The phase one contracts were worth up to six million dollars each. During the phase one effort, both Boeing and Northrop Grumman successfully demonstrated working navigation payloads.
On 19 April 2017, the US Air Force Space Command announced the start of the second phase of its acquisition strategy with the publication of a special notice for an "Industry Day" for companies planning on bidding for the contract to manufacture GPS III vehicles 11+. During the Industry Day event, the Air Force shared the tentative acquisition strategy which it will use to evaluate proposals, then solicited feedback from potential bidders.
In July 2017, the Deputy Director of the U.S. Air Force GPS Directorate stated the acquisition strategy for GPS Block IIIF would be to award the manufacturing contracts for all 22 Block IIIF satellites to the same contractor.
In November 2017, the Deputy Director of the US Air Force's GPS Directorate announced the name of the second tranche of GPS III satellites was "GPS Block IIIF".
Also in November 2017, it was announced that development of the fully digital navigation payload for GPS Block IIIF satellites had completed. The Block IIIA program schedule was delayed multiple times due to issues with the navigation payload.
While the Air Force originally expected to publish the formal Request For Proposals (RFP) for GPS Block IIIF production in September 2017, it was not released until 13 February 2018. The RFP was for a firm-fixed price (FFP) contract for a single company to manufacture all 22 space vehicles. All three participants from phase one (Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman) were believed to be likely to submit proposals. The government held a pre-proposal conference in El Segundo, California, to be held on 15 March 2018 for potential bidders to ask the Air Force questions about the solicitation. The submission deadline for proposals was 12:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on 16 April 2018.
The bid status of companies who participated in phase one, in alphabetical order:
On 14 September 2018, the Air Force awarded a US$7.2 billion manufacturing contract to Lockheed Martin.
Procurement funds for GPS Block IIIF satellite manufacturing will be allocated from the federal budget, starting with Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18).
The Air Force has identified four "technology insertion points" for GPS Block IIIF. These four points are the only four times during the block's lifecycle where new capabilities will be allowed to be introduced to Block IIIF satellites.
The 22 GPS Block IIIF satellites are scheduled for launch between FY2025 and FY2034.