June 16, 2016 – Raytheon has passed both a qualification and a critical design review milestone as part of its development of the U.S. Air Force’s Global Positioning System Next Generation Operational Control System, or GPS OCX. This new system offers significant improvements to the GPS on which the U.S. military and millions of civilians rely, including enhanced availability, accuracy and security.
OCX’s development is delivered in “blocks,” with Block 0 comprising the Launch and Checkout System for the launch and early orbit of GPS III satellites. Block 1 builds on Block 0 to deliver the full OCX capability, which allows the Air Force to transition from its current GPS ground controls to the modernized and secure GPS OCX. Block 2 delivers concurrently with Block 1 and includes GPS Navigation Warfare enhancements.
The first successful milestone for the OCX Monitor Station Receiver Element was the Block 1 Electromagnetic Interference Test, which was completed with a 100 percent requirements pass rate. The rigorous qualification test of the OSMRE demonstrates that the unit meets susceptibility and emissions electromagnetic interference requirements necessary in deployment as part of the 17 monitoring stations around the world. The second milestone for the OSMRE was the successful Block 2 hardware Critical Design Review, clearing the way for hardware development.
“The completion of these test and design milestones demonstrates our progress on OCX execution with our Air Force customer,” said Bill Sullivan, GPS OCX vice president and program manager for Raytheon. “As the program execution has stabilized, we are showing consistent progress on downstream deliveries for the GPS OCX program.”
When completed, the U.S. Air Force-led GPS Modernization Program will yield new positioning, navigation and timing capabilities for both the U.S. military and civilian users across the globe. GPS OCX is being developed by Raytheon under contract to the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, which is replacing the current GPS operational control system. The OCX Launch and Checkout System provides an early delivery of much of the overall OCX capability, and will support the GPS III satellite launches.
The first four GPS III satellites are in various stages of assembly and testing at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility outside of Denver. Components for the next four GPS III satellites are already being assembled, tested and delivered by more than 250 aerospace industry companies from 29 states. The satellites are being built in a steady production line fashion that is reducing cost and development time.
The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Air Force Space Command’s 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.
The U.S. GPS system is the largest and most capable in the world. In addition to supporting defense and civil missions in air, land, sea and space, GPS is used by hundreds of millions of people around the world to enhance daily life activities such as personal navigation tools. It’s also required for industry and businesses and is essential to support safety-of-life applications such as air traffic control and emergency response. The modernized ground station will bring new capability and precision to the GPS enterprise.