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Japan acquiring F-35 landing system for Izumo

Japan is acquiring the Raytheon Joint Precision Approach and Landing Systems (JPALS) system for its Izumo helicopter carrier. The system will strengthen Japan's efforts to employ the ship as an aircraft carrier with Lockheed Martin F-35Bs. This photograph shows a US Marine Corps F-35B taking off from the Izumo during interoperability trials in October 2021. (US Marine Corps)

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) is in the process of procuring a Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) for its Izumo - class helicopter carrier.

The system would allow Japan to operate Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II fighters from the ship.

In a statement on 7 February, the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) said that the US Navy (USN), in partnership with JMSDF representatives, awarded a JPY1.13 billion (USD8.6 million) Foreign Military Sales (FMS) in December 2022 to Raytheon Intelligence & Space for the procurement and delivery of a JPALS unit.

The JPALS is scheduled to be deployed on the JMSDF's JS Izumo in 2024, NAVAIR added.

The JPALS “is a software-based, high-integrity differential GPS [Global Positioning System] navigation and precision approach landing system that guides aircraft on to carriers and amphibious assault ships in all weather and surface conditions”, Raytheon said on its website.

According to Raytheon, the ground-based component of the JPALS utilises a secure, discrete datalink received only by JPALS-equipped aircraft. The system “uses an anti-jam encrypted datalink to communicate between the aircraft and an array of GPS sensors, antennas, and shipboard equipment”, Raytheon said. The system is also integrated on the F-35, according to NAVAIR.

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