Tomahawk missile maker Raytheon Co. has announced on 8 April that earlier this year, the company demonstrated a land-based expeditionary version of its Joint Precision Approach and Landing System for the first time to U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps officials at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Ariz.
According to Raytheon, the land-based version of its precision landing system designed to support expeditionary operations and enhances operations in harsh environments, giving aircraft capability when it comes to precision landings in challenging terrain conditions.
“The need for precision landings in harsh environments isn’t limited to one military service and one airplane,” said Matt Gilligan, vice president at Raytheon’s Intelligence, Information and Services business. “JPALS can help any fixed or rotary-wing aircraft land in rugged, low-visibility environments at austere bases worldwide.”
The proof-of-concept event showed how the GPS-based system, which is currently used to guide F-35Bs onto ships in all weather, could be reconfigured into a mobile version to support landings in a traditional airport setting.
During the demonstration, F-35B pilots used the JPALS system on the jet to connect with the expeditionary system on the ground from 200 nautical miles away. From there, the system guided the pilot to a designated landing point on the runway.
Expeditionary JPALS supports the U.S. Air Force’s desire to use more austere, bare-base locations for future flying operations.
Currently in five transit cases, it could be repackaged for a variety of small transit vehicles transportable by C-130. Once on the ground, the system can be fully operational in under 90 minutes.
Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) is the only military ground-based augmentation system in the world. Its mission is to provide rapid, precision guidance to aircraft landing in any weather or challenging terrain, day or night. The system is cybersecured with anti-jam protection.
In the summer of 2018, U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II fighters, deployed to the Pacific aboard the USS Wasp amphibious assault ship, began using the JPALS system to guide them onto the carrier’s deck. JPALS is also installed on the F-35A and F-35C Joint Strike Fighter. The ship system is scheduled to go into production in 2019.
The MQ-25A multi-mission unmanned vehicle, also known as the Stingray, will be JPALS equipped. This unmanned carrier air system will provide inflight refueling to the U.S. Navy’s fighters, allowing them to extend their ranges much further.