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JPALS Joint Precision Approach Landing System

The objective of Joint Precision Approach Landing System (JPALS) is to provide the next generation precision approach and landing system. JPALS contributes to the joint operational capability for United States forces to perform assigned conventional and special operations missions from fixed base, tactical, shipboard, and special mission environments under a wide range of meteorological conditions. JPALS utilizes local area differential GPS with a VHF uplink for shore-based applications. It utilizes Shipboard Relative GPS in conjunction with Inertial Navigation System and two-way low probability of intercept data link for shipboard applications. It is designed to replace the Instrument Landing System , Microwave Landing System , and precision approach radar ashore, and Automated Carrier Landing System AN/SPN-46, PAR and Tactical Air Navigation systems at sea. No existing system satisfies the mission need for worldwide deployment and interoperability among the Services and the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. JPALS will satisfy this need. Interoperability (transparent coexistence) with impending changes in national and international civil precision approach systems is also driving the need for JPALS.

Based on GPS, joint precision approach landing system JPALS is intended for military aircraft including manned and unmanned fixed-wing, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and rotary-wing aircraft. JPALS is designed to replace tactical air navigation (TACAN) systems and augment the current automatic carrier landing system (ACLS) and instrument carrier landing system (ICLS). Other potential capabilities of JPALS include:

  • Autopilot flown departures and waveoffs
  • Automatic recoveries from 200 miles from the ship (no more Marshall?)
  • Automatic landings at divert or expeditionary airfields
  • Two-way data link between aircraft and ship/shore stations for voiceless communication between pilot and controller of information such as traffic, current fuel states, bingo fuel states, recovery instructions, and divert status
JPALS is a flexible system for multiple platforms and will help redefine the current military concept of operations in the next decade.

In April 2001, the JPALS test team successfully performed the first global positioning system (GPS)-based automatic landing to an aircraft carrier aboard the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (Carrier Vessel Nuclear (CVN)-71).




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