GPS-based Laas and Jpals landing system developments are moving ahead for civil and military operations. Laas, the local-area augmentation system (or, in ICAO-ese, GBAS, for ground-based augmentation system), is intended eventually to replace civil ILS Cat III, while Jpals (joint precision approach and landing system) will provide all-weather autoland guidance for the Navy’s aircraft and UAVs.
Joint Precision Approach and Landing System
In February, London Heathrow became the latest European airport to opt for the microwave landing system (MLS) as its future precision approach landing aid. The UK’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) ordered four Category III systems for Heathrow’s Runways 27R, 27L, 09R and 09L, all of which will be installed later this year.
The FAA awarded a $16.7 million contract–which could balloon to $340 million if options are exercised–to Honeywell International to build the first phase of the local-area augmentation system (LAAS) to deliver Category I precision landing systems at major U.S. airports.
The Department of Defense (DOD) recently unveiled its program for JPALS, the joint precision approach and landing system. The DOD describes JPALS–which is similar to, and compatible with, the FAA’s GPS local area augmentation system (LAAS), with the addition of a few military bells and whistles–as a critical future system for all Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines aircraft.