A GPS 3 satellite rendition. Ligado's spectrum sits near frequencies used by GPS technology. Credit: Lockheed Martin

WASHINGTON — Raytheon received a $228 million contract to continue development of a ground system for Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center announced April 30.

The contract is for work on the operational control system for the newest version of GPS 3 satellites made by Lockheed Martin. The estimated $6 billion ground system known as OCX has been in development since 2012.

The Space Force extended Raytheon’s contract until 2025. This next phase of the program is for the OCX follow-on, or OCX 3F, which requires Raytheon to integrate the newest version of GPS satellites called GPS 3F.  These satellites provide positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) for military and civilian users.

Raytheon currently is working on OCX upgrades expected to be delivered in 2022, including hardened cybersecurity, anti-jam capabilities, and new software compatible with the military’s M-code secure signals and with Europe’s Galileo global navigation system. 

“OCX is an adaptive architecture designed to evolve to combat emerging threats,” said Barbara Baker, senior materiel leader of SMC’s production corps command and control systems division.

The OCX program for years was plagued by software development issues. As a result the Air Force contracted Lockheed Martin to develop an interim ground control system for the GPS 3 satellites that the Air Force started to launch in 2018. The future satellites, the GPS 3F, are in production and are projected to start launching in 2026. 

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...