Lockheed Martin announced Tuesday that its industry team, together with US government representatives, completed the system design review for the second increment of the Air Force’s Global Positioning System Block III satellite, GPS IIIB. The review established the requirements for the capability that the Air Force wants to incorporate in this satellite variant to improve upon the first increment, GPS IIIA. “Working together with the US Air Force and GPS user communities, this milestone validates that we have developed the most affordable and lowest risk solution to introducing vital new capabilities for the GPS constellation,” said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed’s GPS III program manager. The first of the eight GPS IIIA satellites is projected for launch in 2014. GPS IIIB satellites will follow. GPS IIIB will add features like higher power signals and a payload for relaying distress signals from emergency beacons.
While some of the Air Force's newly announced changes will happen quickly, it may take most of Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin's tenure in the job to accomplish the rest, he said in a Brookings Institution event Feb. 28.