Modified batteries on the Air Force’s Global Positioning Systems IIR/IIR-M satellites are expected to extend the life of the fleet by more than 27 cumulative years, announced Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center officials on Jan. 22. The 19 satellites in the fleet comprise more than half of the GPS constellation, according to the release. The 2nd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo., completed the modification, which began in October 2012, last November, according to the release. “Analysis by SMC, The Aerospace Corporation, and Lockheed Martin indicated that reducing the charge rates during solstice season would add an average of one-to-two years of life per space vehicle,” according to the release.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.