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Land-based precision approach system in action now

US: The land-based Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (LB JPALS) is getting back on track after the deputy secretary of defence issued the Resource Management Directive-700 in January, 2011, that restored full funding to the programme, according to a press statement by the US Air Force. LB JPALS provides GPS-based approach and landing capabilities.

While the Navy is the lead executive service for the JPALS family of systems and working on the sea-based version, the Air Force is responsible for the LB JPALS. “Today, each service — the Army, the Navy, the Air Force — has one or more unique solutions,” said Col. Jimmie Schuman, the Aerospace Management Division senior materiel leader. “JPALS is an interoperable system that will be used by all the services and civil aircraft.”

The underlying technology is a differential GPS, the same technology Honeywell used for their civil product that was certified for use in September 2009 by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Program office officials are working toward procuring a military version of this technology, which will include employing an encrypted data link and GPS secure military code with anti-jam capability. Work is also being done to ensure interoperability with the civil community.

“Currently you have to install an (instrument landing system) for every runway end,” said Brian Pierce, the aircraft integration lead for Jacobs Technology. “With JPALS, you would only need one system to support the entire airfield.” With this smaller footprint, LB JPALS would require less manpower to set up or maintain than current systems.

Other services currently use precision approach radar, but these systems are not compatible with civil aircraft and are planned to be among the first systems that will be phased out and replaced by JPALS. Some remotely piloted vehicles also use the same GPS-based technology, and fielding JPALS would provide them the ability to land at any DOD airfield.

LB JPALS capability would be installed in existing navigation system avionics. Avionics risk reduction efforts are ongoing across all the services, and there is an Aircraft Integration Working Group that meets quarterly to coordinate these efforts.

Source: US Air Force