US Navy receives final JPALS unit for increased capability at sea

According to information published by the US DoD on March 17, 2023, the U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the final Joint Precision Approach and Landing Systems (JPALS) unit March 16 marking another on-time or ahead-of-schedule delivery for increased capability at sea.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of F-35 aircraft landing on an aircraft carrier. (Picture source: Raytheon)

JPALS is a ship-relative GPS-based system that provides aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships with precision approach and landing capability, surveillance, and over-the-air inertial alignment in all weather and mission environments.

The naval variant of JPALS utilizes a low probability of intercept signal, making it improbable for an adversary to detect and trace it back to its origin. In contrast, the current TACAN system lacks encryption or concealment, which can potentially compromise the location of the host vessel. Such an arrangement is unsuitable for emission control or stealth scenarios.

JPALS is currently being deployed on all U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, and is on the United Kingdom Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Italian Navy’s ITS Cavour.

Japan became the third foreign military sale customer in December and is scheduled to be deployed on the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s JS Izumo in 2024.

JPALS has been supporting F-35B deployments on U.S. Navy LH-class amphibious assault ships since 2016 and F-35C deployments on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers since 2021. Initial operational capability was reached in May 2021 with full operational capability scheduled for fiscal year 2026.