Sierra Nevada to provide upgrade kits for carrier precision-approach landing systems

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J., 2 Dec. 2014. U.S. Navy carrier aviation experts needed upgrade kits to improve the AN/SPN-46 automatic carrier landing system. They found their solution from Sierra Nevada Corp. in Sparks, Nev.

Sierra Nevada to provide upgrade kits for carrier precision-approach landing systems
Sierra Nevada to provide upgrade kits for carrier precision-approach landing systems
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J., 2 Dec. 2014. U.S. Navy carrier aviation experts needed upgrade kits to improve the AN/SPN-46 automatic carrier landing system. They found their solution from Sierra Nevada Corp. in Sparks, Nev.

Officials of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., announced an $8.2 million contract to Sierra Nevada on Friday to provide as many as 16 Block III receiver upgrade kits for the AN/SPN-46.

The Block III receivers are critical components on the AN/SPN-46 shipboard-based precision approach and landing system. The AN/SPN-46 precision approach landing systems from Textron Inc. in Providence, R.I., are installed on all US Navy aircraft carriers.

Related: Honeywell to refurbish and upgrade Navy shipboard precision-approach landing systems

The AN/SPN-46 employs low-probability-of-intercept technology to decrease the probability of passive detection by hostile forces. The AN/SPN-46 employs an X-band coherent transmitter and receiver using monopulse tracking and Doppler processing on received signals for clutter rejection and rain attenuation at an operating range of eight nautical miles.

The AN/SPN-46 precision approach landing system (PALS) includes the Textron SPN 46 (V)1 and (V)2 automatic landing systems for aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships. The system provides final approach and landing guidance for aircraft during day/night operations and adverse weather conditions.

The precision approach landing system can control as many as two aircraft simultaneously in a leapfrog pattern; each approaching aircraft being assisted by the system lands, another can be acquired.

Related: Sensor processing for Ford-class aircraft carrier arresting gear landing system provided by PT

The AN/SPN-46 radar provides a Mode 1 approach. When engaged a PALS approach provides a hands-off landing for the pilot. Pilots reportedly do not use it often, preferring not to hand off much of the aircraft's controls to a computer but it is important for controller to be able to take control when all other systems fail.

On this contract Sierra Nevada will do the work in Sparks, Nev., and should be finished by November 2018. For more information contact Sierra Nevada Corp. at www.sncorp.com, or the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst at www.navair.navy.mil/lakehurst.

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