Space: March 11, 2000


The US Air Force has decided to develop and orbit a new generation of GPS satellites. These will have enhanced capabilities, the most important of which is improved anti-jamming capabilities. (It is strongly suspected that many countries are working on GPS Jammers to block US precision-guided bombs.) The Air Force has declined an option to have Boeing build 33 new GPS-II-F satellites, deciding to move to the undesigned GPS-III instead. While waiting for GPS-III, the Air Force will pay Boeing to upgrade six GPS-II-Fs already under construction, and build six more to the upgraded design. Lockheed Martin will be paid to upgrade at least 12 of the 18 GPS-II-R satellites it is currently building. These upgraded satellites will add some new signals to provide needed civilian and military capabilities until the third-generation becomes available in 2007. --Stephen V Cole


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