Lockheed Martin completes major upgrade of ground control system

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Defense contractor Lockheed Martin has completed a major upgrade to enhance the ground control system of the U.S. Air Force’s GPS constellation.

Through the Commercial Off-the-Shelf Upgrade #2 (CUP2) project — which began in November 2013 — Lockheed Martin and the Air Force recently finished the largest and most comprehensive step in the Air Force’s multi-year plan to improve technology and transform the Operational Control Segment, one of three major segments of the GPS.

The upgrade entailed adding commercial computer hardware and a major software upgrade, said Jeff Kostelecky, Lockheed Martin’s GPS control segment sustainment program manager in Colorado Springs.

On Oct. 15, the upgrade became fully operational and began managing the 31 GPS IIR, IIR-M and IIF satellites that make up today’s GPS constellation. More than 100 technicians and engineers from Lockheed Martin are supporting the Air Force and GPS in Colorado Springs, Kostelecky said.

“These modernizations allow the Air Force and Lockheed Martin to better sustain the system and reduces the amount of down time for repairs,” he said adding, “The new modernized components and software also increase the system’s ability to protect data and infrastructure, keeping pace with and ahead of growing cyber threats in the world.”

The Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin the project under its GPS Control Segment contract; it is the third major technology refresh of the GPS command and control system since the contract began in January 2013.

“Under the contract, Lockheed Martin employees are still providing daily maintenance and sustainment support to the Air Force and GPS at Schriever Air Force Base,” Kostelecky said.

 Today there are more complex threats and cybersecurity issues in the world, Kostelecky said.

“Lockheed Martin will continue to modernize the GPS Control Segment to keep pace with technology that can both enhance the system and protect it from these threats,” he said. “We are here to help the Air Force and we are proud that we can support them on reaching mission success every day.”