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US Air Force opens competition for GPS III

Article by: Mike Barrett
Date: 5 Feb 2015

The USAF 2016 budget plan includes wording that opens up competition for the manufacture of the GPS III satellites. Currently the contract to build the GPS III spacecraft is an exclusive agreement with Lockheed Martin. The contract awarded in 2008 was described as a 'winner takes all' though the contract was only for the first four satellites.

Since the contract was awarded the production has been marred by poor performance and delays from Lockheed Martin's subcontractors. This has opened up the door for other companies to tender for the manufacture of the satellites.

The front runner to try and win the manufacturing of the GPS III spacecraft would be Boeing, who along with Lockheed Martin and Rockwell International, have been the major contractors for the GPS satellite constellation. Rockwell International was purchase by Boeing in 1996. The wording in the budget plan only opens up the possibility for a change in contractor it does not mean that there will be a switch in suppliers.

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