Clear Signal

Pentagon acquisition czar John J. Young has given the Air Force the go-ahead to award the contract for the Global Positioning System Block III space segment. According to a statement issued by his office, Young signed an acquisition decision memorandum May 9 that clears the way for USAF to select “soon” either Boeing or Lockheed Martin “for final design and construction” of the first increment of the next-generation GPS Block III satellites. The first increment will comprise eight Block IIIA satellites. Both companies have been conducting risk-reduction activities for the past several years under Air Force sponsorship. Young said this technology maturation work, along with his directives in the ADM for the Air Force to take specific actions to mitigate risk, “set the stage for a successful GPS III program.” These actions, he said, include implementing incentives to reward the contractor for accomplishments and strictly sticking to the program’s defined scope in order to deliver on schedule and cost. The Air Force request for proposal from March 2007 called for first launch by 2013.