L3Harris Technologies Passes Critical Design Review for New Fully Digital GPS IIIF Satellite Navigation Payload


GPS IIIF has passed a critical milestone in the development of the fully digital payload.

L3Harris Technologies Passes Critical Design Review for New Fully Digital GPS IIIF Satellite Navigation Payload


Feb 11, 2020


  • Provides most powerful, reliable, flexible GPS signal technology yet
  • Improves capabilities over 70-percent-digital payload used for GPS III space vehicles 1-10
  • Extends 40-plus-year legacy of GPS payload technology leadership

L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) passed the critical design review (CDR) phase in development of a fully digital navigation payload for the U.S. Air Force’s GPS III Follow-On (GPS IIIF) satellites.

CDR is a major milestone demonstrating the new payload’s design -- specifically the fully digital Mission Data Unit (MDU) -- is mature enough to proceed to final development, test and delivery. The new MDU is the heart of the navigation payload and will provide more powerful signals and ensure flawless atomic clock operations. It will also provide improved capabilities over L3Harris’ 70-percent-digital MDU used for GPS III space vehicles 1-10 (GPS III SV 1-10).

“The digital payload is flexible enough to adapt to advances in GPS technology and future warfighter mission needs,” said Ed Zoiss, President, Space and Airborne Systems, L3Harris. “Proceeding to the next stage in the GPS IIIF navigation payload development process moves the program closer to supporting evolving Air Force mission requirements.”

In September 2018, the Air Force selected GPS III prime contractor Lockheed Martin to build up to 22 GPS IIIF satellites, which add even more capabilities and technology to the new GPS III satellites – including the new fully digital navigation payload. GPS IIIF SV11 and 12 are currently under contract.

L3Harris is in a production cadence, having delivered to Lockheed Martin in July the eighth of 10 navigation payloads for the first 10 GPS III satellites. GPS III SV 01 and 02 launched in December 2018 and August 2019 respectively, and are performing well in orbit. GPS III SV03 is expected to launch in the early 2020. The remaining payloads are in various stages of integration with the satellites in Lockheed’s Colorado facility. L3Harris has provided navigation technology for every U.S. GPS satellite ever launched.

About L3Harris Technologies
L3Harris Technologies is an agile global aerospace and defense technology innovator, delivering end-to-end solutions that meet customers’ mission-critical needs. The company provides advanced defense and commercial technologies across air, land, sea, space and cyber domains. L3Harris has approximately $18 billion in annual revenue and 50,000 employees, with customers in 130 countries. L3Harris.com.

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Kristin Jones
Space & Airborne Systems
+1 571 203 7380
+1 571 419 4718
Jim Burke
Media Relations
+1 321 727 9131