The Pentagon is seeking an additional $39.2 million from Congress to help develop the United States Air Force’s next-generation GPS ground control system (OCX), reports Inside Defense. Without the additional funding, the OCX would be delayed an additional four months and cost $90 million more to complete, the Pentagon said.
The embattled OCX showed progress in its July 7 quarterly review, according to an Air Force statement. Acquisition Undersecretary Frank Kendall and Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James — “with support of Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, Space and Missile Systems Center commander and Air Force program executive officer for Space — concluded Raytheon has made progress implementing these critical changes.”
On June 30, the Air Force declared a Nunn-McCurdy breach for its next-generation GPS control system. The declaration means that the U.S. Air Force notifies Congress that the program would exceed baseline cost estimates by at least 25 percent, triggering regimented cost control measures.
“Factors that led to the critical Nunn-McCurdy breach include inadequate systems engineering at program inception, Block 0 software with high defect rates and Block 1 designs requiring significant rework,” a statement from the Air Force said. “Additionally, the complexity of cybersecurity requirements on OCX and impact of those requirements on the development caused multiple delays. The corrective actions to resolve these problems took much longer than anticipated to implement.”
The program enters a review period led by Kendall, which is scheduled to conclude in October.
In December, Kendall did not rule out a re-compete, and the Pentagon announced it was delaying initial operations for the ground system until July 2021. The GPS III satellites cannot use their full capabilities with the current ground control systems, but the Air Force plans to use old ground systems retrofitted to work with the GPS III designs until the OCX is operational.
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