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Update: US Air Force issues contracts for M-Code GPS capabilities

The US Air Force (USAF) has selected three companies to develop military code (M-Code) Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies for the Pentagon.

The service issued cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-award-fee contracts collectively worth USD553 million to BAE Systems, L3Harris Interstate Electronics Corp, and Raytheon Technologies on 6 November 2020. These contracts are for the Military GPS Users Equipment Miniature Serial Interface Increment 2 Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (MGUE Inc 2 MSI ASIC), according to a Pentagon statement.

These contracts provide for all activities to design, develop, build, integrate, and qualify the MSI receiver card with next-generation ASIC. This will enable production of M-Code-capable GPS receiver products for various service applications that require secure position, navigation, and timing (PNT) capability.

The USAF Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), which issued the contracts, said on 23 February that while all three versions will have unique designs, they all must meet the same minimum performance, interface, security, and functional requirements. This programme is not buying any complete GPS receivers and instead buying only prototype circuit assemblies via these contracts. However, the Pentagon may procure up to 1,500 of these prototype receiver cards per year from each contractor to support the development, integration, and testing of this technology into military GPS receivers.

BAE Systems received USD247 million from the USAF to design and manufacture an advanced military GPS receiver and next-generation semiconductor, the company announced on 17 February. The technology will provide PNT capabilities to operators so they can execute missions in challenging electromagnetic environments.

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