The Air Force has declared the newest Global Positioning System satellite to be fully operational, according to a Dec. 19 statement from prime contractor Lockheed Martin. Air Force Space Command operators shepherded launch of the GPS IIR-16M satellite from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., last month. It is part of Lockheed’s eight-satellite Block IIR-M series. On-orbit, it joined two other Block IIR-M satellites and 12 original IIR satellites, according to Lockheed.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.