Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS)


Date: 08 AUG 1994










Mission Need Statement

USAF 002-94

Joint USAF - USN Mission Need Statement




ACAT Level I







General, USAF

Chief of Staff















1. Defense Planning Guidance (DPG) Element. Capabilities supporting aircraft operations and recoveries, such as precision landing systems, are driven by Mission Category 427, Navigation. This capability generally supports the principles of forward presence, crisis response and the mobility requirement that supports these principles. Guidance is provided in DPG FY 1994 - 1999. Technological Superiority (p10) states as a basic tenet: "Our investment in innovation must be sustained at levels necessary to assure that U.S.-fielded forces dominate the military-technological revolution". Elements of the Regional Defense Strategy (p11) further states a regional defense strategy rests on four essential elements, one of which is "Crisis Response -forces and mobility to respond quickly and decisively with a range of options to regional crises of concern to us". This element supports another component of the strategy, Forward Presence, considered "vital to the maintenance of the system of collective defense". Precision approach capability also allows us to meet requirements outlined in Crisis Response (p16) to support "highly ready and rapidly deployable power projection forces..." and to maintain "enhanced mobility to enable us to deploy sizable forces" as one element of a broad range of capabilities. Furthermore, "our mobility posture must be able to quickly supplement forward presence forces and provide the bulk of necessary combat power and support" (p17). Finally, Science and Technology (p41) identifies "rapidly deployable, all-weather, day/night, survivable, mobile and lethal ground combat capability" as a specific thrust that contributes directly to a high priority need under the new strategy. Additionally, this mission need specifically supports Special Operations Forces (SOF) as stated in the USSOCOM Master Plan, JCS Special memorandum (SM) 801.88, and JCS CONPLAN 0300.

2. Mission and Threat Analysis.

a. A need exists to provide a rapidly deployable, adverse weather, adverse terrain, day-night, survivable, and mobile precision approach and landing capability (PALC) that supports the principles of forward presence, crisis response and mobility. The capability should enable U.S. forces to land on any suitable surface world wide (land and sea), under both peace time and hostile conditions, with ceiling and/or visibility the limiting factor. None of the existing systems comes close to satisfying

the mission need for world wide deployment and interoperability between the services. The optimal system would use the same or similar surface and aircraft based components and procedures in both the land based and sea based versions to ensure commonality in joint operations, training, logistics, etc. Acknowledging the existing and more stringent technical requirements to recover aircraft aboard moving platforms at sea, however, it is recognized that concessions may have to be considered. Making a system suitable for the land based scenario compatible with the sea based need may not be feasible, but sea base aircraft avionics should at least be compatible with operating components of the land based ground elements.

The timing for this system is immediate because of our reduction in forward operating locations. Our forces must be ready and mobile enough to fight in conflicts of varying intensity, location and circumstance without mission degradation due to visibility constraints. Portable capability is a high priority of special operating forces. There is no direct threat countered by this capability, but the precision landing capability is needed to permit the introduction and support of air forces into any theater of operations world wide. Deficiencies are summarized as follows.

(1) Current systems are manpower intensive and require extensive training of operators and/or support personnel.

(2) Current systems have limited rapid deployment capability, are difficult to transport, require extended periods of time to set up, and require favorable weather conditions during assembly and system checkout.

(3) Current precision approach systems do not provide covert, jam-resistant, data transmission and reception capability.

(4) Vulnerability of current systems is hostile areas is very high.

(5) The variety of systems in use makes it difficult to realize logistics and support savings and results in higher life cycle costs as systems are upgraded.

b. The principal threat to precision landing systems will come from intercept and geo-locating systems capable of detecting, positioning, identifying, controlling, and disrupting the landing aid. Other likely threats include disruption of open, non-secure radio communications, limited and relatively unsophisticated electronic countermeasure available to potential adversaries, and terrorist or saboteur forces destroying any ground based devices used. Further, the proliferation of advanced electronic warfare systems makes a more technologically sophisticated system essential to counter future enemy capabilities. These threats will most likely be encountered in mid and high intensity regional conflicts. The threat will intensify as potentially hostile nations acquire advanced electronic warfare systems on the export market. With the fragmentation of the former Soviet Union, the current threat to employment of a PALC is reduced to only a few potential enemies. The operating parameters of the system, the relatively protected environment in which such a system would be fielded, and the sophistication required to pose a threat to this type of system validate the premise of this MNS which credits that capability today to advanced radio-electronic combat organizations.

Even though non-hardened solid state components may be vulnerable to effects from high power transient radiation from strategic/tactical nuclear detonation which produces electromagnetic pulses, the same effects on other airfield systems would likely render the airfield unusable, making an operating approach navigation system useless. Hardening to this level would provide minimal added capability at potentially considerable additional cost and is not advised. Nuclear/biological/chemical (NBC) contaminants, however, could effect the equipment as well as the personnel required to operate it and consideration should be given to associated NBC effects when designing a PALC.

3. Nonmateriel Alternatives. Changes to doctrine, tactics, training, or organization will not correct the deficiency of the current Department of Defense precision landing systems. There are no known nonmateriel alternatives to this requirement. Precision approach systems are inherently based on the dependence of an aircraft to outside signal references in order to follow a specified three dimensional path in space. As such, heavy reliance on avionics working in cooperation with ground based equipment has been needed. The mission area analysis determined that no envisioned systems change these basic characteristics, but it has determined that the Global Positioning System (GPS) could alter this picture by using signals from space instead of the ground.

4. Potential Material Alternatives. There are several precision landing systems in use that partially meet the requirement and numerous potential alternatives. Each alternative has inherent liabilities and advantages. Potential areas of study for concept exploration/definition may be composed of (but are not limited to) one or more of the following precision landing systems.

a. Mobile Microwave Landing System (MMLS)

b. Instrument Landing System (ILS)

c. Precision Approach Radar (PAR)

d. Global Positioning System (GPS)

(1) Differential

(2) INS combination

(3) Autonomous

e. Synthetic Vision/Enhanced Vision Systems

(1) Passive Autonomous Landing System (PALS) (ARPA/NRL)

(2) Autonomous Precision Approach and Landing System

(APALS) (Martin Marietta)

f. Automatic Carrier Landing System (ACLS)

g. Instrument Carrier Landing System (ICLS)

h. Marine Air Traffic Control and Landing System (MATCALS)

i. Autonomous Landing Guidance Program (ALGP) (Wright Labs)

j. Austere Airfield Air Traffic Control (AAATC) (AMC MNS)

k. Advanced Landing System (ALS) (ARPA project)

l. JSOC Jasmine Flower

m. International cooperative research and development programs (this type of cooperation may reduce direct and indirect costs and take advantage of existing capabilities)

n. Hybrid Solutions (intended to invoke consideration of any combinations that may be operational and cost effective)

5. Constraints. A precision approach and landing capability must be manpower conservative, affordable, supportable in the field and aboard ship, rapidly deployable, capable of operating in adverse terrain as well as conditions of adverse weather in accordance with applicable environmental standards, and be able to operate within the parameters of the defined threat spectrum. An electromagnetic pulse hardened system should not be required unless it is available at very low cost and does not degrade other required capabilities. Commercial systems should be used where feasible, both in aircraft and ground systems, to enhance worldwide compatibility and potentially provide significant cost savings both from a development and production standpoint. Modifications to existing or planned commercial systems for military use should incorporate military unique operating modes (power settings, frequencies, secure modes, etc.) as a piggyback feature to counter potential enemy threat systems. The latter requirement would eliminate the need to create an entirely separate system for military ground and aircraft installations. Although shipboard systems already exist, aircraft common systems are required which are compatible with both shipboard and land based systems.

a. Logistics. New systems must not place additional demands on the DOD logistics system. They must be highly reliable, maintainable, and deployable. The Services must use a common DOD logistics support system, and the amount of support equipment must be kept to a minimum.

b. Transportation. New systems should be rapidly deployable

and air transportable by Service airlift aircraft and medium lift helicopters, thereby minimizing transportation, handling and setup requirements.

c. Mapping, Charting and Geodesy (MC&G) Support. The system must be capable of accepting DMA standard products as input without prior transformation or use of proprietary formats. DMA military specification formats will be employed to perform in a standardized manner that facilitates reconstruction of displays by other systems in the network.

d. Manpower, Personnel and Training. New systems must not increase manpower authorizations or skill level requirements to operate and maintain. In an effort to reduce the cost of ownership, a manpower, personnel and training (MPT) analysis should be performed to recommend options that exploit use of technology to reduce MPT requirements.

e. Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence. The precision landing system signals will be jam resistant and covert capable and will fully integrate into the C3I architecture.

f. Security. The precision landing system signals will use DOD communications security (COMSEC) devices, procedures, and physical security standards.

g. Standardization or Interoperability. The capability shall provide transparent coexistence with the domestic and international air traffic control/airspace system. The system should be interoperable with military forces of allied nations to the greatest extent possible. The capability must comply with all applicable information technology standards in the DOD Technical Reference Model.

h. Operational Environment. During a conflict, the system must be capable of autonomously supporting a highly mobile force located in austere forward operating locations worldwide. The precision approach and landing system must be able to function through the EM environments produced by advanced technology or electronic warfare weapons. The equipment must be easily decontaminable as well as usable by personnel wearing NBC contamination protective gear.

I. Cost. Factoring realistic fiscal constraints for both the development and out year operations, rationale for new systems must show cost benefit.

6. Joint Potential Designator. Joint - Fiscal constraints, joint force packages and projected operating environments for the proposed precision approach and landing capability dictate this system cross all Service lines and aircraft types. Current aircraft equipment differences can be overcome by a system

tailored to future aircraft avionics. By accommodating aircraft peculiar equipment and future common upgrades, the proposed system has excellent potential to fit a wide range of joint war fighting applications. The potential for joint program management, joint funding, and/or joint development/procurement exists.