2018 Col. Steven Whitney Directions 2019 Enterprise Road From the Magazine GNSS GPS Directorate GPS IIIF legacy ground sustainment M-code MGUE OCX Tech U.S. Air Force

Directions 2019: GPS program looks toward GPS III launch : GPS World

Col. Steve Whitney stands beside a statue of General Schriever at Los Angeles Air Force Base, home of the GPS Directorate. (Photo: U.S. Air Force/Joseph Juarez, Sr.)

Col. Steve Whitney stands beside a statue of Common Schriever at Los Angeles Air Drive Base, house of the GPS Directorate. (Photograph: U.S. Air Drive/Joseph Juarez, Sr.)

By Col. Steven Whitney
Director, International Positioning Techniques Directorate

Navigating the world over’s roads with GPS is straightforward. Navigating via the shifting development zones, detours, and forks of the GPS Enterprise isn’t all the time so simple.

For that cause, the GPS Directorate has positioned extra emphasis on illustrating, each figuratively and actually, the roadmaps resulting in the mixing of the GPS Enterprise.

Earlier than linking every thing collectively, let’s begin with an replace on every main program effort. This manner you’ll be able to zoom out to see the trail forward; hopefully minimizing any “route recalculating” alongside the best way.

Program Updates

The journey to construct the brand new GPS III satellites has been filled with twists and turns however we at the moment are near our vacation spot – on this case the GPS orbit of 12,550 miles above the Earth.

We not solely have 10 GPS III Area Automobiles concurrently in manufacturing at Lockheed Martin’s manufacturing facility in Waterton, Colorado, however are additionally going full swing on preparations to launch our first car in December 2018 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket – extra on this later. The GPS III satellites present alerts designed to enhance the consumer’s capacity to navigate.

Along with the elevated energy and higher accuracy, GPS III provides a civil new sign, L1C, designed for compatibility with the worldwide International Navigation Satellite tv for pc Methods (GNSS) group.

GPS IIIF. In September 2018, the Air Pressure awarded the GPS III Comply with-on contract to Lockheed Martin. This $7.2B contract for 22 satellites was the results of a aggressive course of for a manufacturing effort. Based mostly on the GPS III technical baseline, the GPS IIIF household of satellites embraces modernization and functionality enhancements in a number of areas.

First, a Regional Army Safety functionality will present elevated anti-jam capabilities. Moreover, a brand new Search-and-Rescue (SAR/GPS) payload will present improved timeliness of worldwide search-and-rescue operations. Moreover, a Laser Retro-reflector Array (LRA) payload will allow exact ranging measurements and this system will implement a Unified S-Band functionality to deal with consolidation of telemetry, monitoring, and commanding frequencies.

Lastly, this system will host a redesigned Nuclear Detonation (NUDET) Detection System (NDS) answer that has a decrease general measurement and weight. We sit up for the continued partnership with Lockheed Martin and shall be wanting collaboratively at alternatives so as to add further capabilities incrementally over the lifetime of the 22 GPS IIIF satellite tv for pc manufacturing line.

OCX, the Subsequent Era Operational Management Phase. Final yr Raytheon delivered the preliminary system, generally known as OCX Block zero, to help the launch and on-orbit check-out of the GPS III satellites. This previous yr, we’ve got actively utilized the system in quite a lot of workouts, coaching occasions, compatibility exams, and launch readiness occasions.

We additionally accomplished a complete safety evaluation of the system to exhibit our readiness to start out operations. The system is able to go. We proceed to work the event of the OCX Block 1 system and are wrapping up the preliminary coding of the system early in 2019, main into our integration and check marketing campaign.

The journey over the previous few years has been difficult, however we’ve emerged stronger, armed with higher metrics, and a tradition of built-in improvement (typically referred to as DevOps) which places us on a path to achievement. There can be challenges and dangers within the path forward however moderately than mountains to climb, I see these extra as normal blocking and tackling of a software program intensive program.

Col. Whitney next to an artist's depiction of a GPS III satellite in orbit. (Photo: U.S. Air Force/Van Ha)

Col. Whitney subsequent to an artist’s depiction of a GPS III satellite tv for pc in orbit. (Photograph: U.S. Air Drive/Van Ha)

Legacy Floor Sustainment. Operating in parallel to those modernization efforts is the all-important work to maintain our present GPS infrastructure of our present Operational Management System (OCS). These sustainment efforts guarantee GPS continues to be the gold normal in positioning, navigation, and timing but in addition are an important “on-ramp” to facilitate a clean merge onto the modernized GPS capabilities.

Since 2014, the GPS program workplace has incrementally carried out a number of upgrades that not solely keep our satellite tv for pc constellation supply of GPS signal-in-space accuracy of 50 cm, but in addition considerably will increase the cybersecurity posture of the legacy OCS.

These upgrades culminated with a deployment of the newest modification in October 2018, which completed a worldwide modernization of our complete management system hardware and software program. This newest improve, referred to as Model 7.5, virtualized the community, carried out two-factor authentication, and improved encryption for mission knowledge.

Legacy Floor Enhancements. Given the delays in OCX, the Directorate is actively working two main upgrades to OCS to bridge the hole. The primary is GPS III Contingency Operations (COps) modification which can permit the 2nd Area Operations Squadron (2SOPS) to command and management the GPS III household of automobiles in a mission state matching at the moment’s legacy alerts for all customers world-wide. The second modification is M-Code Early Use, which allows 2SOPS to operationalize the Modernized GPS army alerts (M-Code) navigation alerts for the warfighter.

Consumer Gear. As I write this text, troopers, sailors, marines and airmen are testing and integrating mature, next-generation GPS receiver playing cards offering extra correct and dependable place, navigation, and timing (PNT) options. In 2019, the primary increment of Army GPS Consumer Gear (MGUE) is on monitor to finish card-level testing to tell Service procurement methods.

This thrilling work is the end result of almost 20 years of modernization efforts all through the GPS Enterprise. Within the close to time period, we’re using M-Code succesful lead platforms ­— USAF B-2 Bomber, USMC Joint Mild Tactical Car, USN Arleigh-Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer, and Military Stryker fight car — to show out these capabilities.

The second increment of MGUE focuses on necessities for precision guided munitions, a joint widespread modular handheld unit, in addition to circuit playing cards and elements for low measurement, weight and energy wants. With MGUE, the DoD and providers are poised to have enduring PNT options the warfighter can leverage for years to return.

Integration Roadmaps

The supply of particular person packages is the stepping stone within the functionality deliveries to the warfighter and our civilian customers. Nevertheless, it’s our capability to unite a various assortment of packages and stakeholders, throughout the GPS Enterprise, which defines our success because the GPS Inexperienced Monsters. We have now achieved this by linking cross-program enterprise groups so the sum of the entire is bigger than its elements.

Enterprise Street to Launch (ERTL). The aim is pulling collectively a collection of firsts (new satellite tv for pc, new floor system, and new launch supplier), which has not been carried out earlier than within the trendy GPS Period, to ship the spacecraft safely on-orbit and beneath management. Our journey to this historic launch has taken effort and time, and we’re enthusiastically awaiting the ultimate steps.

The primary GPS III spacecraft is safely at Cape Canaveral and able to go. The management system has been examined and run by means of its paces. The built-in launch staff has carried out its workouts and evaluations. All indicators level to launch in December 2018.

The launch itself is a big milestone, and marks a starting of the orbital part of GPS III. The Street to Launch staff is ready to execute the launch, the check-out and the day-to-day on-orbit housekeeping till the bottom updates are full to switch the brand new GPS III satellite tv for pc into the lively constellation later in 2019.

Enterprise Street to Mission (ERM). The aim is bringing the GPS III satellites into the lively constellation offering mission just like at this time’s capabilities. A key enabler of the ERM IPT’s success is their improvement of the first-ever Enterprise “Integration Playbook”, which is the tangible, documented output of a big devoted planning effort.

The Playbook captures how all of the items and efforts from every stakeholder group tie collectively to realize Operational Acceptance of the primary GPS III satellite tv for pc, the USNDS payload, and the COps modification to OCS. The “Playbook” describes in clear and concise phrases how these deliveries combine throughout the GPS Enterprise, in addition to how duties and milestones from numerous stakeholders converge to realize clear finish states.

Enterprise Street to M-Code Mission, or ERM-M-Code. Shifting now to our army customers, the aim of the ERM-M-Code workforce is to steer the early supply of a extra strong, resilient, jamming/tampering-resistant PNT sign functionality to warfighters.

The rollout of the operational M-code functionality is dependent upon the success of the M-Code Early Use modification to OCS, set up of latest M-code sign monitoring gear at websites across the globe, modification of mission planning software program, Army GPS Consumer Gear Increment 1 improvement, service lead platform integration efforts, and operationalization of area receivers.

Our final goal is to enhance the power of the Mixed Area Operations Middle (CSpOC) to answer pressing PNT wants of the combatant commanders, as they interact extra refined adversaries. We stay intently aligned with our friends at USSTRATCOM, AFSPC and consumer communities.


It’s an thrilling time to be a GPS Inexperienced Monster! These roadmaps are on no account straightforward to create and execute. It’s because of the exceptional individuals of your GPS Directorate that these multifaceted challenges are unraveled, aligned, and resolved. The staff has labored extremely exhausting this previous yr to place our techniques for main, built-in deliveries over the subsequent couple of years.

It has been the spotlight of my profession to serve with these women and men and I can’t wait to see the place we — and the GPS Enterprise — go subsequent.