(Editor's Note: This has been updated to include a statement from an Air Force spokeswoman.)
A planned contract award to Raytheon for the GPS IIIF Operational Control Segment is delayed four months to February 2021, the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center announced today.
The presolicitation notice, released Wednesday, follows a sources-sought notice issued in May 2019 that indicated the service would select OCX incumbent Raytheon to develop the follow-on capability. The new notice doesn't offer a reason for the delay, but SMC spokeswoman Alicia Garges said in an email the schedule change is due to the budget cycle.
"OCX IIIF is a new start program, which requires [a fiscal year 2021] budget to be appropriated," Garges said. "This will likely not happen in October '20. The February '21 planned contract award date aligns the award with expected FY-21 approval timelines."
The service says in the notice that its market research has confirmed Raytheon is the only provider that can meet its OCX IIIF requirements without introducing additional cost and schedule risk.
"It is likely that award to any other source would result in substantial duplication of cost to the government that is not expected to be recovered through competition and unacceptable delays in fulfilling the agency's requirements," this week's notice states.
OCX IIIF will support GPS IIIF satellites, which Lockheed Martin is on contract to develop. The effort will involve upgrades to Raytheon's Block 1 and 2 capabilities and require utilizing the program's existing development tools.
The notice doesn't indicate what new capabilities will come with OCX IIIF, but says the system "must satisfy the requirements for regional military protection, rapid warfighting effects, navigation signal-based satellite status information, unified S-band telemetry, tracking and commanding, and support for future GPS IIIF payloads."