Military Embedded Systems

Upgraded GPS operational control system paves way for M-Code roll-out


March 30, 2020

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

WASHINGTON. As part of the U.S. military’s effort to modernize the Global Positioning System (GPS), the U.S. Space Force has been upgrading its existing GPS Ground Operational Control System (OCS). The Space Force recently announced Operational Acceptance of the GPS Contingency Operations (COps) upgrade, developed by Lockheed Martin. COps enabled control of the operational GPS constellation, now containing 21 M-Code capable GPS satellites.

The Space Force’s M-Code Early Use (MCEU) upgrade, delivered earlier this year, will enable the OCS to task, upload, and monitor M-Code within the GPS constellation, as well as support testing and fielding of modernized user equipment, prior to the completion of the next-generation ground control systems.

This spring, work will begin to install the components needed to command and monitor the M-Code encrypted GPS signal designed to enhance anti-jamming and protection from spoofing, as well as increase secure access for our forces, into the GPS OCS. M-Code signals are currently available on all the on-orbit GPS IIR-M, IIF, and III space vehicles.

A key to enabling M-Code is the M-Code Monitor Station Technology Capability (M-MSTIC), a software-defined receiver Lockheed Martin developed and is installing at all six Space Force monitoring sites. Lockheed Martin also delivered the Red Dragon Cybersecurity Suite (RDCSS) Phase III upgrade during the fourth quarter of 2019 to improve Defensive Cyber Operations (DCO) visibility into GPS network traffic.



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