The US Air Force, which manages the network of 31 operation global positioning system (GPS) satellites, is gearing up to upgrade some of its fleet with new, more accurate, more secure satellites. Called GPS III, the first of these new satellites just concluded testing at aerospace company Lockheed Martin's facility in Denver, Colorado, as the company announced today. GPS III promises "three times better accuracy" than current GPS satellites, and "up to eight times" better anti-signal jamming protection, to prevent disruption or hijacking by attackers. Both the military and civilian consumers will experience improved service, Lockheed claims.
Still, it will be a little while before consumers feel the improvements: Lockheed Martin said it's on track to deliver the first of the satellites to the Air Force in 2014, for a prospective 2015 launch, but has long-term contracts to provide up to eight in total. The new GPS III satellites will plug into the existing network and steadily provide better service as they are added.