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.
Honeywell has completed a series of GPS-guided autoland approaches to each of the four runways at Moses Lake Airfield in central Washington using a single Honeywell/Pelorus local-area augmentation system (LAAS) ground station. The successful trials, conducted over a 45-day period that ended in January, come just as
the FAA is preparing to award a major contract for the supply of 60 Cat I LAAS ground stations through 2007.
At press time, bidders for the FAA’s Cat I local-area augmentation system (LAAS) ground station contract were awaiting a statement from the agency as to whether the program would proceed with a contract award, valued at around $800 million. After several delays during the summer, FAA officials advised the two bidders–one team being Raytheon and the French navaid company Thales (which earlier had acquired U.S.
Honeywell last month announced it has signed a collaborative agreement with Lockheed Martin Air Traffic Management in Rockville, Md., to jointly compete for an FAA contract for local-area augmentation system (LAAS) hardware and support. The FAA is expected this month to award a contract for the initial production and installation of LAAS ground stations at six airports, with an option for 15 to 40 more per year over the next five years.
While the GPS wide-area augmentation system (WAAS) is likely to be commissioned for public use in July, the local-area augmentation system (LAAS) has fallen back by 12 months, with commissioning of the first installation now forecast in late 2005. This setback for LAAS was revealed to attendees at a December briefing given by FAA’s Satellite Operational Implementation Team (SOIT).
At the FAA’s September International Aviation Safety Forum near Washington, the agency included a discussion session entitled “WAAS or LAAS, which is it?” An explanatory note in the agenda stated that “The FAA is investing in both, but industry experts are divided over the safety issues and benefits. What are the costs and benefits of WAAS? LAAS? Which one should we be investing in?”
While FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said required navigation performance (RNP) is receiving broad support in the U.S. and abroad, she acknowledged there is no one-size-fits-all navigation concept. The question she posed is “How do we balance finite resources in terms of WAAS/LAAS?”
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.
After describing its GPS LAAS precision approach system contract as “imminent” for more than six months, the FAA in early May announced its award to Honeywell.
Rockwell Collins has received the industry’s first TSO approval for a multi-mode receiver (MMR) with local-area augmentation system (LAAS) functionality, the avionics maker announced last month. The Collins GLU-925 MMR is the first to include LAAS and GPS landing system (GLS) capability in addition to ILS mode.
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