Both Boeing and Lockheed Martin have completed the necessary work to proceed on the Global Positioning System Block III program. Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center has awarded $50 million contracts to both companies, headed toward system design review in spring 2007. SMC officials expect to award a development contract for GPS III later this year. Meanwhile, the Air Force reportedly is considering whether to engage an independent contractor to serve as program integrator.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.