The Air Force recently awarded Lockheed Martin a $96 million contract as an “insurance policy,” in case Raytheon cannot deliver the first block of the next-generation GPS ground control system, known as OCX, in time, the commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center said Feb. 19. OCX “is the No. 1 troubled program within the Department of Defense,” said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, but it also is a “very, very, very important program for the future, not only of the Department of Defense, but of the nation.” The OCX system is behind schedule and over budget, and has been criticized by commanders and members of Congress. Air Force officials met with Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank Kendall in late 2015 and decided not to stop the program then, because they determined there’s still an opportunity for Raytheon to demonstrate its progress, Greaves said. “We are very serious about working with Raytheon to ensure we can deliver OCX as advertised. If we cannot, then we’ve got off-ramps to basically ensure we can sustain this global utility called GPS,” he said. OCX is the DOD’s first attempt to deliver a ground system that has information assurance built in, and that is being developed to meet the threats of today and the future, Greaves said. The current GPS control system is a “trust everyone” system, while the OCX system is a “trust no one” system, he said.
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.