Raytheon Completes Trials; Navy Precision Landing System Takes Off
Project managers for Raytheon Systems Co. [RTNA] were all smiles recently when they completed successfully shore-based flight trials of a technology demonstrator designed for the shipboard version of the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS).
During the tests, an F/A-18A fighter aircraft executed the first Navy JPALS automatic landings. Trials aboard a carrier at sea are expected to begin later this fall.
JPALS includes 100 percent of to LAAS [Local Area Augmentation System], providing differential corrections to civilian, as well as military GPS code. Raytheon is developing the initial JPALS system for both the Air Force and the Navy, and heads one of two FAA LAAS teams. The Raytheon team will build JPALS on civil LAAS standards, said Jeff Brabender, Raytheon’s director of marketing and sales for navigation and landing systems.
“The worst case for the Navy is…if FAA goes to LAAS, if NATO…goes to MLS [Microwave Landing system], and if the Navy maintains its [current] shipboard systems, which are incompatible with anything ashore,” Capt. Jim Campbell, program manager for air traffic control and landing systems with the Naval Air Systems Command told our sister publication GLOBAL POSITIONING & NAVIGATION NEWS.
This contract is significant because the Navy needs JPALS to replace older shipboard automatic landing functions and that of its sister services and civil aviation. JPALS will enable Navy planes to land at civilian airports moving to LAAS, as well as at JPALS-equipped Army and Air Force bases.
Likewise, the Navy hopes to start fielding the initial shipboard system in 2005 or 2006. Eventually, the service wants to install the capability on its approximately 4,000 aircraft, as well as on carriers, amphibious ships and small-deck vessels such as cruisers.