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Dubai Airshow: JPALS to make new Middle East friends

Posted 12 November 2017 · Add Comment

Raytheon is promoting its new joint precision approach and landing system (JPALS) at the show.

JPALS uses GPS to guide fast jets, helicopters and drones to safe landings on ships and land, even in challenging conditions such as mountainous terrain, helicopter brownouts and bad weather. 

The US Navy and Marine Corps is currently using JPALS to land the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II and drones on aircraft carriers. And Raytheon says it is now introducing the precision landing capability to the Middle East for land-based operations.

David Ray, Raytheon’s vice president of business development and strategy, said: “JPALS has proven to be highly effective on ships, allowing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to land on a designated spot only 20cm square.

“With an aircraft carrier, the landing can be incredibly difficult to calculate as the platform may be moving in nine different directions. But, having solved the problem of moving runways with JPALS for the Navy, we were able to adapt the system for land use.”

Raytheon says it has shrunk the JPALS system down to a Humvee-sized solution that is very transportable. The company says it can handle precision approach and landings for up to 50 aircraft simultaneously from 20 miles away.

“On land, JPALS can handle difficult and non-straight-in approaches where there is terrain. As such, it makes it ideal for a whole range of different missions, such as military special forces or humanitarian relief, Ray said.

The system uses the principles of local area augmentation – using GPS and your known location to more accurately ‘fine tune’ the navigation signal in the immediate area.

“For humanitarian missions it can work 24 hours a day regardless of the weather. It really is tomorrow’s technology, but available today,” Ray said.

“The other great feature of JPALS is that, although it was developed for the F35, it is backwards compatible for other aircraft, such as the Lockheed Martin F-16, the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk, and the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor.

“It is also easy to set up and operate, with very few moving parts, so reliability is first rate,” Ray concluded.

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