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.
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.