CBO: GPS Alternatives Save Time, Money

A new Congressional Budget Office report, which examines Pentagon plans for modernizing USAF’s Global Positioning System satellites as they reach the end of their service lives, proposes three options that CBO says could save DOD billions of dollars. From 2012 to 2025, DOD plans to spend about $22 billion modernizing GPS, including the purchase of 40 GPS III satellites better capable of countering deliberate interference and hundreds of thousands of new receivers. However, CBO believes improving the receivers would provide sufficient anti-jamming capability to military users sooner and at lower overall cost. The first option would improve current military receivers by fitting them with better antennas and inertial navigation systems. A second option would capitalize on DOD research and development by enabling current receivers to integrate information from the Iridium commercial satellite network. A third would include further improvements to both of the first two options. According to CBO, these options would save approximately $2 billion, $3 billion, and $1 billion respectively over the purchase of new satellites and associated ground control upgrades from 2012 through 2025. (Full report)