The U.S. Air Force (USAF) announced selection of Lockheed Martin for a fixed-price-type production contract for 22 GPS III Follow-On satellites with a total estimated contract value up to $7.2 billion.
“The world is dependent on GPS, from getting directions to getting cash from an ATM or trading on the stock exchange. These satellites will provide greater accuracy, and improved anti-jamming capabilities, making them more resilient,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson.
Today, the Air Force operates a total of 77 satellites vital to national security that provide communications, command and control, missile warning, nuclear detonation detection, weather and GPS for the world.
“Since Desert Storm, our joint and allied war fighting team has relied on uninterrupted position, navigation and timing signals to employ precision on and over the battlefield. This investment in GPS III continues to advance our capabilities into the future,” said Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein.
The Air Force’s acquisition strategy for this solicitation achieved a balance between mission success, meeting operational needs, opportunities for technology insertion, lowering costs and introducing competition for National Security Space missions.
“America’s Air Force is being fielded faster and smarter,” said Wilson.
Since the Department of Defense delegated decision authorities on this program to the Air Force, the service saved five months by eliminating an additional layer of reviews and speeding up the source selection process. Additionally, by using a fixed-price contract, the contractor, not the taxpayer, would be responsible for any cost overruns.
“Having decision authority in the Air Force is critical for speed and accountability. Our acquisition and contracting strategies are sound; waiting to award only takes time away from the warfighter,” said Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
The first GPS IIIF satellite is expected to be available for launch in 2026. The Air Force is the lead agency for procuring these satellites.
“Through this acquisition, we are demonstrating many of the principles of our SMC transformation. Getting to a manufacturing steady state in a fixed-price environment will allow us the opportunity to realize substantial cost savings, deliver on a planned schedule, and provide avenues for needed warfighter capability upgrades in the future,” said Lt. General John F. Thompson, Space and Missile Systems Center commander and Air Force program executive officer for space.
The Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the U.S. Air Force's center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch, range systems, satellite control networks, space-based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.