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Raytheon wins Space Force OCX contract to switch out IBM kit for GPS III

Raytheon wins Space Force OCX contract to switch out IBM kit for GPS III

It will be replacing the IBM computers currently used for managing the GPS constellation with systems from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, under the terms of the contract which is worth $378m. The work is to be completed by April 2022 and is part of a wider GPS Enterprise Modernization programme for GPS III.


The OCX is intended to deliver two-times more satellite capacity, improved cyber security infrastructure, improved accuracy, globally deployed modernised receivers with anti-jam capabilities and improved availability in difficult terrain.

“OCX is critical to continuing high priority national efforts to modernize GPS with new military and civil positioning capabilities, including enhanced security, precision, reliability, and integrity,” said Barbara Baker, SMC Command and Control Division’s senior materiel leader. “OCX will deliver sustained, reliable GPS capabilities to America’s warfighters, allies, and civil users.”

The phasing out of IBM kit was triggered previously by the IBM x86 product line sale to Lenovo, with IBM being committed to support their hardware until August 2022.

“Over the last two and a half years, since OCX came out of its Nunn McCurdy breach, Raytheon has been executing as planned, giving us confidence in OCX’s ability to transition into operations,” said Lt. Gen. John Thompson, SMC commander. “Software development completed last fall and the program is in the integration and test phase. In less than a year, Raytheon will deliver a qualified software baseline capable of operating the GPS constellation.

“This gave us confidence that we had a viable OCX technical solution providing a long term sustainable hardware baseline that meets our stringent cyber security requirements,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Gabriele, SMC’s OCX materiel leader. “As Raytheon continues to track to their contractual commitments, addressing the unsupportable IBM cyber security risk is prudent to do pre-system delivery to the government. Although this government-directed change will impact the Raytheon schedule, the government is holding Raytheon accountable to deliver qualified software prior to integrating on the HPE platform and deploying to operational sites.”

US Department of Defence

Last week the US SPace Force announced the agreement, and yesterday the US Department of Defence released details of the contract.

“The contract modification will require Raytheon to replace IBM equipment with HPE equipment for all OCX Block 1 Deliverable Environments,” said the announcement. “Work will be performed in Aurora, Colorado, and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2022.”

The Space and Missile Systems Center is based at the Los Angeles Air Force Base. As well as looking after GPS its responsibilities include military satellite communications, defence meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.

Image: U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Amanda Lovelace – From left, Col. Laurel Walsh, 50th Operations Group commander, and Airman 1st Class Michael McCowan, 2nd Space Operations Squadron satellite systems operator and mission planner, give the final command to decommission Satellite Vehicle Number-36 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Jan. 27, 2020. SVN-36 was launched March 10, 1994, and exceeded its design life of approximately seven years.