Rendition of GPS III satellite. Photo: Lockheed Martin
Frequency Electronics (FEI) received a contract from Lockheed Martin Space, valued at $5.9 million, for the qualification of FEI’s Digital Rubidium Atomic Frequency Standard (DRAFS). The contract’s intent is to qualify FEI’s DRAFS for potential use on the new GPS IIIF satellites, securing the industrial base for high-accuracy Global Positioning System (GPS) atomic clocks. According to the release, this is a risk reduction effort for the U.S. Air Force’s GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) satellite program.
To help the Air Force modernize its GPS satellite constellation with new technology and capabilities, Lockheed Martin Space designed and built GPS III. With 10 satellites under contract, in 2018, the Air Force selected Lockheed Martin to build up to 22 additional GPS IIIF satellites, adding new features to the flexible satellite design. The Air Force began launching GPS III satellites in December 2018. Today, more than 4 billion users rely on GPS.
“We are extremely pleased to be awarded this contract and the opportunity to play a significant role in the GPS IIIF program,” said Frequency Electronics Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Stanton Sloane. “This award is the culmination of 50 years of research and development of advanced quartz and atomic clocks based on FEI’s proprietary technologies. We are also pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with Lockheed Martin Space on critical national security programs.”