Next-Generation Operational Control System – Global Positioning System Delays

The ground segment of GPS’s newest upgrade, the Next-Generation Operational Control System (OCX) has hit further delays in its already troubled history. Due to unforeseen technical issues, the Block 1 upgrade will no longer hit its April mark. The contractor, Raytheon, has already hit its Block 0 update that allows control of the U.S. Space Forces GPS III satellites but does not allow control of legacy systems. On this Block 0 system, the Space force has since launched and completed checkout of 6 GPS III type satellites. Lockheed has been contracted out to complete a temporary software system to handle these GPS III’s on the legacy system while OCX is being completed.

Block 0 is meant to be the base of the OCX system, with it delivering software, hardware and security systems. Block 1 and 2 will be delivered together and allow OCX to handle command of the older satellites along with more advanced signals from both military and civilian sides. This will meet all cybersecurity requirements as well. Block 2 is specifically tiered towards the military side with full operational capability of military signals.

Block 3F has already been awarded to Raytheon as well, this Block being focused on future upgrades needed for OCX.

OCX was initially scheduled for deployment in 2016 at a estimate of $3.7 billion. That estimate has ballooned to $4.3 billion in 2015 and $6.2 billion in 2018 along with constant delays as well. The military had started this program back in 2012 and had the foresight to see a need for secure systems to handle the rising challenges to cybersecurity but development and implementation of these systems take time. A problem in a field that moves so fast in terms of threats.