Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business delivered the first production unit of the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System, or JPALS, to the U.S. Navy 20 days ahead of schedule. This delivery follows the completion of 12 engineering development models. JPALS, a differential GPS precision landing system, guides aircraft onto carriers and amphibious assault ships in all weather and surface conditions and is integrated on the F-35.
«Landing a 15-ton fighter jet flying at hundreds of knots per hour on an aircraft carrier in rolling seas is daunting to say the least», says Matt Gilligan, vice president, Raytheon Intelligence & Space. «JPALS makes those landings simpler, safer and more precise. JPALS gives the Navy the landing accuracy it needs every time regardless of conditions. It is more than an approach and landing system – it is a safety system».
JPALS uses an encrypted datalink to connect software and receiver hardware on the aircraft to an array of GPS sensors, mast-mounted antennas and shipboard equipment, to provide surveillance, ship-relative navigation and precision approach and landing in and around the carrier-controlled airspace.
Applications for JPALS extend beyond the seas. The system has the potential to help expeditionary forces land manned and unmanned aircraft safely in any condition, anywhere. An expeditionary JPALS (eJPALS) could be used for special operations missions or guiding aircraft during humanitarian relief efforts. eJPALS would provide straight, curved and multi-segmented precision approach capabilities and has the capacity to support up to 50 different approaches to touchdown points within a 20-nautical-mile radius of the system.