Raytheon makes progress on next generation GPS OCX for ten times the accuracy against atmospheric conditions

Raytheon (NYSE: RTN) has passed both a qualification and a critical design review milestone as part of its development of the U.S. Air Force’s Global Positioning System Next Generation Operational Control System, or GPS OCX. This new system offers significant improvements to the GPS on which the U.S. military and millions of civilians rely, including enhanced availability, accuracy and security.

OCX’s development is delivered in “blocks,” with Block 0 comprising the Launch and Checkout System for the launch and early orbit of GPS III satellites. Block 1 builds on Block 0 to deliver the full OCX capability, which allows the Air Force to transition from its current GPS ground controls to the modernized and secure GPS OCX. Block 2 delivers concurrently with Block 1 and includes GPS Navigation Warfare enhancements.

The first successful milestone for the OCX Monitor Station Receiver Element was the Block 1 Electromagnetic Interference Test, which was completed with a 100 percent requirements pass rate. The rigorous qualification test of the OSMRE demonstrates that the unit meets susceptibility and emissions electromagnetic interference requirements necessary in deployment as part of the 17 monitoring stations around the world. The second milestone for the OSMRE was the successful Block 2 hardware Critical Design Review, clearing the way for hardware development.

The GPS system and the critical navigation information it provides are measured by accuracy, availability and integrity. By all three measures, the new GPS OCX system is scheduled to deliver enormous improvements and enhancements, dramatically increasing the performance and effectiveness of the entire GPS system. For example, the new Kalman filter that is at the heart of the GPS OCX navigation solution will double the accuracy of the current system for all users. GPS OCX will lift the cap on the number of satellites in the GPS constellation, allowing more satellites and better geometry in hard-to-reach areas such as urban canyons and mountainous terrain. Additionally, all critical OCX external interfaces will employ digital signatures, protecting information from tampering so it can be trusted by users.

GPS OCX will also employ a new architecture that works with both legacy and new types of signals to enable full utilization of current signal capabilities. For example, besides M-code and L1C, the current control system also cannot process L2C and L5 signals; all of these are planned capabilities for by GPS OCX. Activation of the new civil signals will bring the same multiple-frequency capabilities to civil and commercial users that have been available to military users for years. By eliminating atmospheric distortions and allowing signal redundancy to mitigate radio frequency interference, the new system will be 10 times more accurate.

The completion of these test and design milestones demonstrates our progress on OCX execution with our Air Force customer,” said Bill Sullivan, GPS OCX vice president and program manager for Raytheon. “As the program execution has stabilized, we are showing consistent progress on downstream deliveries for the GPS OCX program.”

When completed, the U.S. Air Force-led GPS Modernization Program will yield new positioning, navigation and timing capabilities for both the U.S. military and civilian users across the globe. GPS OCX is being developed by Raytheon under contract to the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, which is replacing the current GPS operational control system. The OCX Launch and Checkout System provides an early delivery of much of the overall OCX capability, and will support the GPS III satellite launches.

SOURCES – Raytheon