Lockheed Martin GPS 3F satellite rendering.
Rendering of a GPS 3F satellite. Credit: Lockheed Martin Credit: Lockheed Martin

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force announced Nov. 28 it has ordered three GPS 3F satellites from Lockheed Martin for $744 million. 

The Space Force exercised the fourth contract option awarded to Lockheed Martin under a 2018 agreement worth $7.2 billion for up to 22 satellites  

The first was a $1.3 billion order in September 2018 for two GPS 3Fs (space vehicles 11 and 12); the second in October 2020 was a $511 million contract option for two satellites (space vehicles 13 and 14); and the third for space vehicles 15, 16 and 17, worth $737 million.

The new contract option covers GPS 3F space vehicles 18, 19 and 20.

GPS 3F is the newest version of the U.S. satellites that provide global positioning, navigation and timing services to civil and military users.

GPS 3F satellites will have more advanced anti-jamming capabilities, an upgraded nuclear detection detonation system payload, an improved search and rescue payload, and a laser retroreflector array that provides greater geolocation accuracy.

Lockheed Martin in 2008 won a contract to produce 10 GPS 3 satellites and the company has transitioned production to the GPS 3F version. The Space Force so far has launched only five of the 10 GPS 3 models it has purchased. 

The new GPS satellites will augment the constellation of 31 spacecraft in medium Earth orbit and replace some of the oldest that date back to the late 1990s and early 2000s.

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...