The new digital payloads passed a critical design review in February 2020.
L3Harris Technologies has received contracts totalling $137m for four navigation payload Mission Data Units (MDU) for future GPS III Follow-on (GPS IIIF) satellites.
Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for GPS III/IIIF, selected L3Harris in 2018 to design and build the first two fully-digital MDUs. The MDU generates more powerful GPS signals and assures clock operations for GPS users.
Speaking about the contract, Ed Zoiss, President, Space and Airborne Systems, L3Harris, said: The digital MDU is flexible enough to adapt to advances in GPS technology and future changes in mission needs. The new MDU will also support a smooth transition for the US Space Forces GPS OCX ground control segment.
The US 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% 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.