On Friday, Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp., was awarded a $62 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to continue its work on GPS III, which is expected to replace older GPS satellites while improving capability to meet the evolving demands of military, commercial and civilian users.

Lockheed’s latest contract is for Space Vehicles 5 and 6, which are expected to be completed in 2017. Lockheed is also under contract to deliver the first four GPS III satellites for launch. The Air Force plans to purchase up to 32 GPS III satellites.

GPS III satellites are expected to deliver better accuracy and improved anti-jamming power while enhancing the spacecraft’s design life and adding a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with international global navigation satellite systems.

Last week, Lockheed's flight software on GPS III satellites passed a key test.