The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced on September 18 that it intends to stop procuring Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites with the capability to intentionally degrade the accuracy of civil signals.
This capability known as Selective Availability (SA) will no longer be present in the next generation of GPS satellites.
Although the United States stopped the intentional degradation of GPS satellite signals by setting SA levels to zero in May 2000 this action to permanently remove SA eliminates a source of uncertainty in GPS performance that has been of concern to civil GPS users around the world for some time. While this action will not materially improve the performance of the system it does reflect the United States’ strong commitment to users by reinforcing that this global utility can be counted on to support peaceful civil applications around the globe.
The decision to remove the capability from the next generation GPS satellites was approved by the President after a recommendation from DoD. The move coincides with the U.S. Air Force’s solicitation to purchase the next generation of GPS satellites known as GPS III.
GPS is a dual-use satellite-based system that provides accurate positioning navigation and timing information to users worldwide. Originally developed by the Department of Defense as a military system GPS has become a global utility. It benefits users around the world in many different applications including aviation road marine and rail navigation telecommunications emergency response resource exploration mining and construction financial transactions and many more.