Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract to start building the third and fourth GPS III satellites by the United States Air Force. The $238 million contract is the second contract the company has received to manufacturer GPS satellites. Back in 2008, Lockheed Martin received a $1.4 billion contract from the Air Force to design and develop the first and second satellites for GPS III.
The GPS III satellites are considered the next generation of satellite navigation, offering an updated and more advanced version of the current system. The satellites will improve accuracy and clarity of GPS signals around the globe for commercial, civilian, and military needs. Additionally, the new system will included enhanced anti-jamming capabilities to prevent interference with GPS signals due to jammers or signal blockers.
The Director of the Air Force's Global Positioning Systems Directorate, Colonel Bernie Gruber, explained, "GPS is a global gold standard, providing accurate, reliable, continuous, free worldwide positioning, navigation and timing services. As the need for more capability increases, GPS III will allow us to affordably sustain and modernize the constellation by providing increased capabilities incrementally to better meet current and future needs."
The initial launch for GPS III satellites is scheduled for 2014. When the new network is complete, there will be 32 GPS satellites offering the most accurate positioning and navigation system available.