Navy awards long-awaited, multimillion-dollar JPALS contract to Raytheon

By Lee Hudson / September 22, 2016 at 3:42 PM

The Navy recently awarded a $254 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to Raytheon for new engineering and manufacturing development implementation of the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System, which will be used by the Joint Strike Fighter and MQ-25 Stingray.

On Sept. 21, the Navy awarded the contract for JPALS design, development, manufacture, integration, demonstration and test of the new system.

"This contract will utilize and continue development of eight existing engineering development models (EDMs); and deliver two additional EDMs to support fleet early operational capability requirements for F-35B/C and MQ-25 test and initial operational requirements aboard nuclear aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships," according to a Sept. 22 Defense Department contract announcement. "In addition, this contract will deliver weapons replaceable assemblies, a technical data package, and provide developmental test and operational test support."

Inside the Navy reported in May the Navy was on track to award an EMD contract to Raytheon for JPALS by the end of June. According to the Navy's budget documents, the service intended to award the contract during the third quarter of fiscal year 2016.

A Navy spokesman did not respond by press time to a query on why the contract was awarded three months late.

All of the technical development work to enter the EMD phase is complete and the associated documentation that supports the milestone decision is approved or in final review, Naval Air Systems Command spokesman Michael Land wrote in an April 29 email to ITN.

"The EMD phase will develop a sea-based, GPS-based precision approach landing system for amphibious assault ships (LHA/LHD) and aircraft carrier (CVN)-type ships that will support worldwide, all weather, day and night precision surveillance, approach and automatic landing requirements for low observable and unmanned aircraft," Land wrote. "Currently, the JPALS program is completing the integration and test of early operational JPALS capability with F-35 Lightning II B/C model aircraft that supports their upcoming operational deployments."

The Navy has "identified" deployments with the F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing variant and the F-35C carrier variant and JPALS ship installations are prioritized to ensure those ships will be capable to support those aircraft, Land added.

Further, in the latest iteration of the Selected Acquisition Report on JPALS obtained by Inside Defense, a technical services case with the United Kingdom was extended through the end of December to allow for the exchange of technical information for the JPALS system.

"This technical service case also allows further discussions between the U.S. and UK in support of a JPALS procurement decision," according to the SAR.