March 8, 2016 / 4:35 PM / 2 years ago

Top U.S. arms buyer to meet Raytheon CEO on long-delayed GPS ground system

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top Pentagon and Air Force officials will meet on Tuesday with Raytheon Chief Executive Tom Kennedy for another “deep dive review” of the company’s long-delayed ground control system for next generation GPS satellites, U.S. defense officials said.

Pentagon chief arms buyer Frank Kendall, Air Force Secretary Deborah James and other officials will meet with the Raytheon Co (RTN.N) leader in Colorado to review progress made by the company as it struggles to complete the $3.6 billion program after years of schedule delays.

The U.S. officials also will receive a new estimate for the cost of delaying the program’s completion by another two years, a decision that was taken last year.

Raytheon had no immediate comment about the meeting. Company officials have said they are committed to meeting the Air Force’s requirements for the next-generation control system.

Lieutenant General Samuel Greaves, who heads the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, last month described Raytheon’s GPS Operational Control System (OCX) as the Air Force’s “No. 1 troubled program.”

He said the program could be canceled if the company did not improve its performance on the troubled system.

Officials have stopped short of canceling the OCX program, which has seen costs double due to increased cyber requirements and poor contractor performance, citing the importance of the system at a time when China, Russia, Iran and other countries are aggressively attacking U.S. military systems such as GPS.

OCX will be the first satellite control system designed after the advent of significant jamming and other cyber threats.

The Air Force has contingency plans that include having Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), which is building the actual new Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, modify the current GPS ground system to work with the new satellites.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Alan Crosby

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