Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for the GPS III and IIIF satellites, awarded L3Harris Technologies new contracts totaling $137 million for four additional navigation payload Mission Data Units (MDU) for future GPS III Follow-on (GPS IIIF) satellites.
L3Harris received an award in 2018 to design and build the first two fully-digital MDUs, the heart of the satellite’s navigation payload. The MDU generates more powerful GPS signals and assures clock operations for GPS users.
“The digital MDU is flexible enough to adapt to advances in GPS technology and future changes in mission needs,” said Ed Zoiss, President, Space and Airborne Systems, L3Harris. “The new MDU will also support a smooth transition for the U.S. Space Force’s GPS OCX ground control segment.”
The U.S. Space Force expects the first GPS IIIF satellite, which builds on GPS III adding new capabilities and technology, to be available for launch in 2026. The GPS IIIF MDU will provide improved capabilities over L3Harris’ 70-percent-digital MDU on the first ten GPS III satellites. The first four GPS III satellites have successfully launched and are now operational in the GPS constellation.
L3Harris has provided navigation technology for every U.S. GPS satellite ever launched.