US Space Force crafting new schedule for GPS ground system

WASHINGTON — An previously delayed U.S. Area Pressure exertion to create a fashionable, cybersecure GPS floor program is experiencing new program setbacks.

The company is re-analyzing the shipping agenda for the Future-Generation Operational Regulate Phase, an upgraded edition of the floor procedure utilized to function GPS satellites. The program, dubbed OCX, was most lately planned for supply this April, but a spokeswoman for Area Devices Command explained to C4ISRNET this week that timeline is now in question.

“The program’s government-contractor group is currently evaluating the schedule and anticipate possessing it authorized later this spring,” Alicia Garges stated in a Feb. 13 electronic mail.

The hold off has prompted “cost overruns,” she explained, with out delivering aspects.

A spokesman for Raytheon, the Arlington, Va.-primarily based company setting up OCX, attributed the timetable hold off to “technical issues” that arose in recent tests. Neither the corporation nor the Room Drive would elaborate on the mother nature of those troubles.

“We are doing work carefully with the U.S. Area Power to resolve these difficulties and enable for added schooling time to accommodate operator requirements,” organization spokesman Joel Mayoral said Feb. 13.

The Place Force operates 32 GPS satellites, which provide navigation solutions to navy and civilian people. That fleet consists of older satellites as properly as upgraded spacecraft. The newest model, GPS III, is more resistant to jamming makes an attempt, presents much more precise site details and is outfitted to choose edge of encrypted armed forces alerts. The services has launched 6 GPS III satellites due to the fact 2018.

OCX will incrementally change the floor technique that operates those people satellites today, which Lockheed Martin has sustained considering the fact that 2013. Raytheon delivered the initial OCX increment, Block , in 2017, which consists of a components, software program and cybersecurity baseline and can assist launches of new GPS satellites, but doesn’t give sufficient capability to regulate the on-orbit fleet. Blocks 2 and 3, which the corporation has not sent, will provide that ability and will involve a lot more protections versus cyber threats.

To be certain it can operate newer GPS III satellites although it awaits OCX Blocks 1 and 2, the Room Power in 2016 awarded Lockheed a deal to produce a software program upgrade that will allow for the present floor process to manage these satellites. The upgrade, which Lockheed sent in 2019, is not as innovative as OCX and is meant as a temporary resolve right until the new program is done.

Persistent delays

Schedule uncertainty has been a persistent obstacle for OCX, which was meant to be fielded in 2016. The program’s 2012 charge estimate of $3.7 billion has been revised quite a few periods, increasing to $4.3 billion in 2015 and $6.2 billion in 2018. The 1st value enhance activated what’s known as a Nunn-McCurdy device charge breach, requiring the Defense Division to create a new value and routine baseline in 2016.

Area Devices Command is “assessing a variety of selections,” to mitigate more program delays, according to Garges, however she didn’t extend on what steps the services is contemplating.

As the program crafts a new plan, the House Force’s major acquisition official, Frank Calvelli, has labeled OCX a person of the service’s “long-standing troubled programs” and has manufactured it a precedence to deliver the method this year.

“These albatrosses that have been dragging the department down for decades, we have bought to get [them] out of the way,” Calvelli explained in the course of a Jan. 24 National Stability House Affiliation convention in Chantilly, Va. “This is the 12 months we’re gonna get these programs sent.”

Beyond OCX Blocks 1 and 2, Raytheon is currently on deal for upcoming GPS floor segment updates, dubbed Block 3F. The Room Drive awarded the company a $228 million contract in 2021 and supply is envisioned in 2025.

Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s area and emerging technologies reporter. She has protected the U.S. armed service considering that 2012, with a focus on the Air Pressure and Area Pressure. She has noted on some of the Protection Department’s most major acquisition, funds and coverage problems.