F-35B Able to Use JPALS for Zero Visibility Precision Landings
Early in 2018, US Marine Corps (USMC) F-35B LIGHTNING II aircraft deployed in the Pacific aboard the USS WASP amphibious assault ship used the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) to guide them onto the ship’s deck in all weather and surface conditions, up to the rough waters of Sea State 5.
The system, developed by Raytheon‘s Intelligence, Information and Services business, allows precise landings through GPS receivers and an encrypted, jam-proof datalink. Scheduled to enter production in 2019, JPAL’s precision navigation is equally effective ashore. A land-based version of the system can be small enough to be either dropped into an austere environment via parachute or driven in on a trailer.
“We’re asking our pilots to land in some of the most difficult conditions on Earth,” explained the Program Manager, Naval Air Traffic Management Systems Program Office, Capt. B. Joseph Hornbuckle III. “JPALS goes a long way toward ensuring the safety of our aircrews and the success of our missions.”
“Deploying with the F-35 is a good start, but it’s just the beginning,” added Raytheon’s Vice President of Navigation, Weather and Services, Matt Gilligan. “There are many fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft around the world and across the services that deploy to harsh, low-visibility environments where JPALS would be extremely valuable.”