The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing [BA: NYSE:] a Global Positioning System (GPS) III study contract valued at $20.8 million. Under the contract agreement, the Boeing GPS III industry team will perform a comprehensive 24-month Systems Requirement Review (SRR) Phase A study. The Boeing team is one of two competing industry teams awarded a contract to perform the study.

“This award provides Boeing with an opportunity to continue its leadership role helping the Air Force define the future of the multi-faceted GPS program,” said George Muellner, senior vice president and general manager of Boeing Air Force Systems. “The customer has expressed its confidence in the Boeing team, as demonstrated by this important competitive win.”

GPS III is a new initiative by the Air Force looking at the next-generation GPS and how requirements for the satellite-based navigation and timing system will evolve over the next 30 years. The GPS III SRR Phase A study will assess mission needs, requirements and evaluate innovative architecture recommendations. Work is scheduled to begin immediately in Seal Beach, Calif., managed out of Boeing’s Air Force Systems headquartered in Long Beach, Calif.

Boeing has selected a team of industry leaders whose combination of unparalleled GPS domain knowledge and broad understanding of military, commercial and civil navigation requirements will be crucial in the development of a flexible solution for the next 30 years.

Team members include Boeing Satellite Systems, El Segundo, Calif.; Harris Corp. of Melbourne Fla.; Lockheed Martin Management and Data Systems (M&DS), Gaithersburg, MD; ITT Clifton N.J. and Raytheon Company, El Segundo, Calif.

“Boeing has developed the foundation for a world-wide navigation system redefining the way the military operates,” said John Fuller, executive director, Boeing Air Force Space Systems. “Our Boeing GPS III team is committed to further developing and improving upon that legacy.”

For three decades Boeing has played a key role in what has become a vital worldwide asset, and under Air Force contract has produced 40 GPS Block I, II and IIA satellites. Of the 28 satellites now comprising the GPS constellation, twenty are Block II/IIA, and all have exceeded their 6-year design life. In addition, Boeing is currently under contract to build six Block IIF satellites, with a potential for up to 16.

The Space and Missile Systems Center manages the GPS program through a joint program office at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Integrated Defense Systems is one the world’s largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $25 billion business. It provides systems solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; the world’s largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world’s largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA’s largest contractor; and a global leader in launch services.