WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force’s OCX program, which will procure new ground control stations for the service’s next-generation GPS satellites, has been delayed by another nine months, meaning the technology will not be ready until April 2022, the U.S. Air Force confirmed Monday.
With that delay comes additional cost. Last October, when the Pentagon certified the program would continue despite an increased cost of over 25 percent, it anticipated spending $5.4 billion during the development phase of the program. That figure has now increased to $6 billion, the U.S. Air Force stated.
According to U.S. Air Force spokeswoman AnnMarie Annicelli, the service decided to extend the development phase of the program as a result of “realized program technical risks,” including “hardware and software obsolescence refreshes.”
“The OCX program has been a troubled program from the beginning. We are placing a lot of pressure on the contractor, and expect Raytheon to do the job they are contracted to perform,” she said in a statement to Defense News.
News of the cost increase and schedule delays were first reported by Bloomberg News early on Monday.
The operational control segment, or OCX, will consist of ground control stations that enable civil and military use of the U.S. Air Force’s new GPS III satellites and protect it from hacking and jamming. Development of the OCX capability was estimated to cost $3.5 billion when the program started in 2007. However, costs ballooned — in part, due to Raytheon’s difficulty keeping OCX protected from ever-changing cyber threats — and the program hit a Nunn-McCurdy breach in June 2016, triggering a review of the program.