The U.S. Navy is set to sign a contract with Raytheon by May to begin the production of the company's Joint Precision Approach and Landing System for use on the service's nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, FlightGlobal reported Friday.
Raytheon is expected to deliver the first JPALS units in 2020 for installation on the service's 11 carriers and eight assault ships.
JPALS is a GPS-based precision landing platform designed to guide F-35 and other aircraft to land on ship's decks in all types of weather and ocean conditions of up to Sea State 5 where waves are reaching as high as 8 feet. The system uses a suite of GPS sensors, shipboard equipment, mast-mounted antennas and an anti-jam, encrypted data link to establish connection with receiver hardware and software aboard aircraft.
"In layman's terms, it provides a kind of a tunnel [on the heads-up display] for the airplane to fly through to get at the same landing point every time safely," Brooks Cleveland, senior aviation adviser for precision landing systems at Raytheon, said of JPALS.
Raytheon demonstrated a ground-based JPALS to Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps officials in January at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona to show how the system guides an F-35B aircraft towards a touchdown spot.