By Marina Malenic

The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., has selected Raytheon [RTN] over Northrop Grumman [NOC] to develop and field a new element of its Global Positioning System (GPS) that is expected to improve the accuracy of GPS satellite feeds.

The contract award, announced on Feb. 24, represents the first two development blocks of the advanced control segment (OCX). Raytheon and its industry partner Boeing [BA] will develop the OCX, which is expected to include anti-jam capabilities and improved security, accuracy and reliability. It will be based on a modern service-oriented architecture, integrating government and industry open-system standards.

The contract has options for support and sustainment, making it potentially worth $1.5 billion over the life of the program.

GPS is a U.S. Air Force satellite constellation that provides location, navigation and timing services to both military and civilian users. In addition to satellites, GPS also consists of Air Force-operated earth-based control stations and receivers owned by individual users.

The OCX infrastructure is expected to improve GPS command, control and mission capabilities and make it easier for the operations team to run the current GPS block II and all future GPS satellites.

Bob Canty, Raytheon’s program manager for the effort, said last week that the company will begin “expanding that team next week.” He said that about 100 new employees will be added this year to the team of 2,200 already working in Colorado, primarily on software development. Another 200 workers are expected to be hired next year, he added. Boeing could add 50 to 60 jobs as well, according to a company spokesman.

The contract includes requirements for development and installation of hardware and software at GPS control stations at Schriever AFB, Colo., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif.; monitor stations at remote sites; and contractor-support options for five years, according to a statement released by the Air Force.

Additional subcontractors to Raytheon on the project include: Braxton Technologies, Infinity Systems Engineering, ITT [ITT] and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.