GPS Block IIIF

Summary

GPS Block IIIF, or GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF), is the second set of GPS Block III satellites, consisting of up to 22 space vehicles. The United States Air Force began the GPS Block IIIF acquisition effort in 2016. On 14 September 2018, a manufacturing contract with options worth up to $7.2 billion was awarded to Lockheed Martin.[3][4] The 22 satellites in Block IIIF are projected to be delivered starting in 2026, with launches estimated to last through at least 2034.[2]

GPS Block IIIF
ManufacturerLockheed Martin
Country of originUnited States
OperatorUnited States Space Force
ApplicationsSatellite navigation
Specifications
BusLM2100M[1]
RegimeSemi-synchronous MEO
Design life15 years
Production
StatusIn development
Planned18
On order4
Built0
Maiden launch2026 (planned)
Last launch2034 (planned)[2]
Related spacecraft
Derived fromGPS Block III
← GPS Block III

DevelopmentEdit

The U.S. Air Force employed a two-phase competitive bid acquisition process for the GPS Block IIIF satellites.

Phase One: Production Feasibility AssessmentEdit

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.[4][5] The phase one contracts were worth up to six million dollars each.[6] During the phase one effort, both Boeing and Northrop Grumman successfully demonstrated working navigation payloads.[7]

Phase Two: Satellite ManufacturingEdit

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+.[6] 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.[8]

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".[9]

Also in November 2017, it was announced that development of the fully digital navigation payload for GPS Block IIIF satellites had completed.[10] The Block IIIA program schedule was delayed multiple times due to issues with the navigation payload.[11][12]

BiddingEdit

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.[13] 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.[6] 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.[14]

The bid status of companies who participated in phase one, in alphabetical order:

  • Boeing: declined to submit a proposal [15]
  • Lockheed Martin: submitted a proposal [15]
  • Northrop: declined to submit a proposal [3]

FundingEdit

Procurement funds for GPS Block IIIF satellite manufacturing will be allocated from the federal budget, starting with Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18).[16]

FY 2020 provided funding to procure GPS IIIF SV-13 for delivery in September 2026.[17]

FY 2021 funded procurement of SV14 and SV15, with deliveries in November 2026 and February 2028.

FY 2022 will fund procurement of SV16 and SV17, with deliveries in June and October of 2028.[18]

Contract awardsEdit

On 14 September 2018, the Air Force awarded a manufacturing contract with options worth up to US$7.2 billion to Lockheed Martin.[3]

The Space and Missile Systems Center exercised options on 26 Sept 2018 for the first two satellites known as Space Vehicles 11 and 12. The $1.3 billion contract also included development costs. Options for SVs 13 and 14 were authorized in October 2020 for $511 million.[19]

Three more GPS IIIF satellites are planned to be placed under contract in 2022.[20]

DesignEdit

GPS IIIF is an evolution of GPS III, which uses the A2100 bus as its core. The new models use the modernized LM2100 bus along with a fully digital navigation payload from L3Harris, a significant upgrade from the previous 70% digital payload used in GPS III.[21][22][23]

An upgraded version known as the LM2100 Combat bus will be used starting with the third service vehicle. It will enable on-orbit servicing at a later date, which may include hardware upgrades, component replacement, or refuelling.[24][25]

Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) payloads are being provided by the Canadian government on behalf of the Canadian Armed Forces. The time it takes to detect and locate a distress signal will be reduced from an hour to five minutes, along with greatly improved accuracy in locating a distress beacon.[26][27]

Laser Retroreflector Arrays (LRAs) will be built by the Naval Research Lab. This is a passive reflector system that improves accuracy and provides better ephemeris data. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) will fund the integration costs of the LRA.

Other significant enhancements include: unified S-Band (USB) interface compliance, integration of hosted payloads including a redesigned United States Nuclear Detonation (NUDET) Detection System (USNDS) payload, Energetic Charged Particles (ECP) sensor, and Regional Military Protection (RMP) capabilities that provide the ability to deliver high-power regional Military Code (M-Code) signals in specific areas of intended effect.[28]

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.

Technology Insertion Point 1 (estimated FY2026)Edit

  • First Space Vehicle: GPS IIIF-01
  • Proposed/possible new functionality:
    • On Orbit Reprogrammable Digital Payload [29][30][31]
    • High Power Amplifiers (SSPA's) [31]
    • Regional Military Protection (RMP) [32]

Technology Insertion Point 2 (estimated FY2028)Edit

  • First Space Vehicle: GPS IIIF-07
  • Proposed/possible new functionality:
    • M-Code Space Service Volume [33]

Technology Insertion Point 3 (estimated FY2030)Edit

  • First Space Vehicle: GPS IIIF-13
  • Proposed/possible new functionality:
    • Near Real-Time Commanding
    • Advanced Clocks [31]

Technology Insertion Point 4 (estimated FY2033)Edit

  • First Space Vehicle: GPS IIIF-19
  • Proposed/possible new functionality:
    • TBD

SatellitesEdit

The 22 GPS Block IIIF satellites are scheduled for launch between FY2025 and FY2034.[2]

The Space and Missile Systems Center exercised options on 26 Sept 2018 for the first two satellites known as Space Vehicles 11 and 12. The $1.3 billion contract also included development costs. Options for SVs 13 and 14 were authorized in October 2020 for $511 million.[19]

Three more GPS IIIF satellites are planned to be placed under contract in 2022.[20]

SV 11 is expected to be “Available For Launch” in February 2026.[20] SV12 AFL is projected for August 2026.[34]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "GPS-3F (Navstar-3F)". space.skyrocket.de. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Gleckel, Gerry (15 November 2017). "GPS Status and Modernization Program" (PDF). gps.gov. U.S. Air Force. Retrieved 1 December 2017.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ a b c "AF Announces selection of GPS III follow-on contract". Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 22 June 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ a b "Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center Awards Global Positioning System III Space Vehicles 11+ Phase 1 Production Readiness Feasibility Assessment Contracts". U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. 5 May 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2017.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Public Affairs (8 January 2016). "SMC releases RFP for GPS III Space Vehicles 11+ Phase 1 Production Readiness Feasibility Assessment". Retrieved 2 December 2017.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ a b c Divis, Dee Ann (27 April 2017). "Door Open to New Bidders as Air Force Moves Closer to GPS III Buy". insidegnss.com. Gibbons Media & Research. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  7. ^ Capaccio, Anthony (2 November 2017). "Air Force Plans US$10 Billion GPS III Contest Amid Lockheed Delays". bloomberg.com. Bloomberg. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  8. ^ Divis, Dee Ann (17 July 2017). "GPS Official: Expect One Follow-on GPS III Contractor, Tech Insertion Points". insidegnss.com. Gibbons Media & Research. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  9. ^ Divis, Dee Ann (22 November 2017). "Next Tranche of GPS Satellites to be called GPS IIIFs". insidegnss.com. Gibbons Media & Research. Archived from the original on 2 December 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Harris Completes Development of Fully Digital Navigation Payload for Future GPS III Satellites". 9 November 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  11. ^ "GPS III Payload Facing Delays". gpsworld.com. North Coast Media. 11 February 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  12. ^ Gruss, Mike (14 September 2016). "Lockheed Martin says first GPS 3 satellite delayed until December". SpaceNews. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  13. ^ Divis, Dee Ann (16 January 2018). "Industry Awaits GPS III RFP As Delays Mount". insidegnss.com. Gibbons Media & Research. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  14. ^ "GPS IIIF Request For Proposal (RFP)". fbo.gov. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2018.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  15. ^ a b Devis, Dee Ann (18 April 2018). "Boeing Declines to Bid on GPS III". insidegnss.com. Gibbons Media & Research. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  16. ^ Divis, Dee Ann (15 February 2016). "GPS III Budget Slashed as Air Force Shifts Money to Fix Delayed OCX". insidegnss.com. Gibbons Media & Research. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Estimates" (PDF). March 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ "Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget Estimates" (PDF). May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ a b "Lockheed Martin gets $511 million contract for two GPS satellites". SpaceNews. 10 December 2020. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  20. ^ a b c "GAO-21-222 Weapon Systems Annual Assessment" (PDF). Government Accountability Office.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ "L3Harris Contracted for 4 Mission Data Units for GPS IIIF Satellites - Via Satellite -". Via Satellite. 24 February 2021. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  22. ^ GNSS, Inside (23 February 2021). "Four More Digital Mission Data Units for GPS IIIF Satellites to Come from L3Harris". Inside GNSS - Global Navigation Satellite Systems Engineering, Policy, and Design. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  23. ^ "Most Advanced SBIRS Missile Warning Satellite Ready For 2021 Launch". Media - Lockheed Martin. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  24. ^ Martin, Lockheed. "Lockheed Martin's First Modernized SBIRS Missile Warning Satellite Now Under U.S. Space Force Control". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  25. ^ "Lockheed Martin to upgrade GPS satellites for in-orbit servicing". SpaceNews. 26 February 2021. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  26. ^ "MDA to build search-and-rescue repeaters for GPS 3F satellites". SpaceNews. 13 May 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  27. ^ Canada, Public Services and Procurement. "Government of Canada awards contract for new space-based search and rescue technology". www.newswire.ca. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  28. ^ "Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Estimates" (PDF). Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Financial Management and Comptroller. May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ "Lockheed Martin to upgrade GPS satellites for in-orbit servicing". SpaceNews. 26 February 2021. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  30. ^ "On-Orbit Reprogrammable Digital Waveform Generator (ORDWG) for the GPS Spaceccraft Navigation Payload". govtribe.com. US Air Force Research Lab. 8 January 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2018.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  31. ^ a b c "Advanced GPS Technologies" (PDF). gps.gov. US Air Force Research Lab. 1 May 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2018.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  32. ^ "Military GPS Receiver Advances Could Help Trim Satellite Costs" (PDF). Inside GNSS. June 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  33. ^ Bauer, Frank (11 June 2015). "GPS Space Service Volume (SSV) Ensuring Consistent Utility Across GPS Design Builds for Space Users" (PDF). gps.gov. Retrieved 10 November 2018.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  34. ^ "Global Positioning System Ill Follow-On Production (GPS IIIF)" (PDF). Defense Acquisition Management Information Retrieval (DAMIR). December 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)