Navy Carrier Tech Could Help Army Helos Land in Brownouts

Raytheon’s Joint Precision Approach and Landing (JPAL) System has been used for years by the Navy to help guide fighter aircraft into clean tailhook landings aboard aircraft carriers. But now the company is pitching JPALs to the Army as a way to help rotorcraft operate safely in bad-weather conditions and land with confidence — even in brownouts.

Navy Cmdr. Brooks Cleveland, a F/A-18 Hornet pilot and Raytheon’s senior aviation adviser for precision landing systems, told at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting Monday that Raytheon was developing a smaller, rapidly deployable version of JPALS designed to be portable within a C-130 Hercules and fit within a Humvee on the ground.

JPALS uses a GPS satellite navigation system that links with aircraft from a distance to provide accurate guidance for landings. By relying on coordinates from the system, planes can avoid geographic obstacles and essentially “auto-land,” despite any reduced visibility conditions.


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