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Naval Air: Automated Carrier Landings
   Next Article → ATTRITION: Downsizing Debacle Derailed

September 28, 2008: The U.S. Navy has paid Raytheon corporation $233 million to complete work on an aircraft carrier version of JPALS (Joint Precision Approach and Landing System). This is a GPS based system that uses an enhanced (via local equipment) GPS signal so that aircraft can land at night or in bad weather. JPALS is accurate to within one or two feet. The navy initially sought to use JPALS for helicopter operations on non-carriers (destroyers and cruisers). But the new version will emphasize carrier use. This is also an essential technology to make it possible for UAVs to operate on carriers.

There is already a civilian version of JPALS in use. What makes JPALS unique is the use of encrypted signals, and for ship use, low strength signals (so the ships cannot be detected by enemy forces looking for transmissions). JPALS is also portable, so it can be moved and set up quickly. The civilian versions of this technology are installed at airports as a permanent part of the infrastructure.

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Thomas       9/28/2008 7:31:25 PM
Splendid if we can get rid of those night traps.
 
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LB       9/28/2008 11:48:05 PM
Oh sure it will be a lot less stressful landing at night on a moving deck when the computer is doing it for you and you are just along for the ride.  It might end up being safer and more reliable than a human but it will not be less stressful for your average pilot.  It is however essential for UCAV's.
 
One day we might have a conflict with a nation able to take down a portion of the GPS network or more simply jam the signals locally.  An over reliance on GPS should perhaps be a larger concern for the Pentagon than is apparent.

 
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colforbin       9/29/2008 9:11:16 AM

 
One day we might have a conflict with a nation able to take down a portion of the GPS network or more simply jam the signals locally. 



or just a bad solar storm even
 
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cqb    Very difficult   10/1/2008 12:25:50 AM
     I do  not doubt that the technology for automated carrier landings will eventually exist.  Unless I am missing something, the technology to auto land during rain/fog and heavy seas doesn't exist at the present time.   This may not be an issue with UAV's, because of the mission. Other options will be necessary for those instances.  I think it is fantastic to see the advances in technology unfold.  I am 69 years old and the thought of this kind of technology was science fiction only a very few years ago.
     This old Naval Aviator can remember days and nights when the seas were so heavy that all the jet type aircraft were grounded and only the S2-E's and other prop aircraft were flying (that was interesting).
 
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