Boeing Co. told about 100 local employees this week that their jobs will be eliminated Jan. 31 after the aerospace giant lost a key contract to Lockheed Martin Corp. to maintain software used by the Air Force Space Command to control the Global Positioning System satellite network.
But many may not be out of work for long. Boeing told employees working on the contract that they can apply for other openings in the company. And Lockheed officials said the defense giant plans to hire about 100 people, including “a large percentage” of personnel now working on the contract. Lockheed won the 6½-year contract valued at $104.2 million on Dec. 14 from the command’s Space and Missile Systems Center contracting office at Peterson Air Force Base.
“We are disappointed to learn that our field-proven GPS Control Segment operations solution was not selected,” Boeing spokeswoman Deborah Bosick said Thursday in a statement. She declined to confirm the number of employees affected by the contract loss, but said it “is important to note that we work across the company to mitigate the impact and to find opportunities for affected employees.”
Boeing has held the GPS contract since 1996 and built a $5 million testing and development center in 2003 to complete configuration management, training and software maintenance. The company also upgraded software at the command’s ground station in the Springs. The company still has more than 2,000 employees statewide, with the largest operations located in Colorado Springs and Denver, working on contracts that include software and systems engineering for a system designed to intercept incoming warheads in space.
Lockheed said much of the work on the new contract will be completed at Peterson and Schriever Air Force Base, but work also is planned at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida. Most of the work includes operations and maintenance of command and control systems, software, hardware and communications equipment as well as systems engineering, network management, software testing and space vehicle and ground equipment simulation, said Suzanne Smith, a Lockheed spokeswoman in Denver.
Lockheed has a 30-year history in the GPS program, including contracts totaling $1.7 billion awarded in 2008 and in January to build the first four satellites in the next-generation GPS network. The satellites are used for navigation and timing signals for a variety of applications, including financial transactions.
The company last month was awarded a renewal of the Integrated Space Command and Control System contract, potentially valued at $250 million if all three one-year options are exercised, to operate and maintain information technology networks used for air defense, missile warning and space defense systems by the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command in the Springs and U.S. Strategic Command near Omaha, Neb.
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