“What will the US Space Force be able to do with its new GPS III variant?”

GPS- 3

 “New GPS III Follow-on satellites — or GPS IIIF for short — will continue to improve the constellation’s accuracy and protection against jamming.

GPS III satellites are already a substantial upgrade to the current constellation, providing three times greater accuracy and eight times better anti-jamming capability than their predecessors. In addition to introducing a new civil signal that is compatible with other navigation satellite systems, the five GPS III satellites on orbit completed the space component of M-code — an even more secure and accurate signal for military use.

The Space Force has launched five of the planned GPS III satellites, and three more have been declared “available for launch” but are waiting in storage with prime contractor Lockheed Martin. The remaining two are undergoing testing.

The Space Force has a contract with Lockheed for up to 22 GPS IIIF satellites. The service already exercised contract options for seven GPS IIIF satellites, with the most recent award taking place in October 2021, when Space Systems Command issued $737 million to the company for three more satellites.

GPS IIIF satellites will be more advanced than their predecessors. Most notably, the new space systems will prove a new Regional Military Protection capability, a steerable M-code signal that can concentrate the effect in a specified region. RMP can provide up to 60 times greater anti-jamming measures, helping ensure soldiers can access critical position, navigation and timing data in contested environments.”

Comment: Will this improvement affect the GPS services offered gratis to the civvie world? What other countries have something like GPS? pl



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4 Responses to “What will the US Space Force be able to do with its new GPS III variant?”

  1. rjh says:

    tldr: other countries offer something like GPS

    The current list of GPS sources available to Android developers is at https://developer.android.com/reference/android/location/GnssStatus.html

    A list of smartphones that currently support Gallileo is at https://www.usegalileo.eu/EN/inner.html#data=smartphone

    I don’t know whether the enhanced GPS is only available to the military. It shouldn’t interfere will civilian use. (Famous last words.)

  2. TTG says:

    The article implies, at least, that basic civilian GPS is still available in this new class. The anti-jamming and anti-spoofing capabilities are add ons. This linked article describes those capabilities in more detail. Orolia seems to the US-European major player in developing those capabilities.


    Russia’s GLONASS is the alternate to GPS that I am most familiar with a 24 satellite constellation refurbished in 2012. Europe’s 24 satellite Galileo is another. China has her 35 satellite BeiDou system.

    Iridium’s 66 satellite LEO constellation offers another alternative to GPS that is offered for civilian use in addition to the fairly widely used satcom capabilities. Here’s a brief article on Iridium’s alternative to GPS.


  3. Babeltuap says:

    I recall from my Army Corps of Engineer course the civilian GPS was not as accurate as the military for tactical reasons. Think it was off by several meters. I don’t think that is still the case? No way to achieve fully functional self driving cars and other automation requiring pin point accuracy without this tech. Like picking up a moving ant level without missing it a billion times.

  4. TonyL says:

    “Think it was off by several meters. I don’t think that is still the case”

    Correct. That was quite a long time ago. Actually it was the same GPS but the military added errors to the signal to reduce the accuracy for civilian usage. I used to work in this field a few years back in those days. In a classified system, we removed the errors (so to speak, in layman term).

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