The US Navy has awarded a $234m initial low-rate production contract to Raytheon to manufacture 23 joint precision approach and landing systems (JPALS).

The global positioning system (GPS) enabled precision landing systems will be outfitted on all of the navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships.

JPALS has the capability to guide aircraft to precision landings in all weather and surface conditions.

The US Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft use Raytheon’s JPALS to land on USS Wasp amphibious assault ship.

Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services business vice-president Matt Gilligan said: “The US Navy understands how JPALS contributes to their mission success and safety of its people.

“Other military services could also benefit from the system’s ability to safely land both fixed and rotary-wing aircraft in almost any low-visibility environment.”

Last year, the F-35B pilots began using the system to guide them onto USS Wasp during a deployed operation.

In April this year, Raytheon demonstrated land-based deployable version of the JPALS system. The version is designed to provide the same precision capability offered in ship-landings.

As part of the demonstration, F-35B pilots used the GPS-based system on the jet to connect with the expeditionary system on the ground from 200nm away.

Raytheon used the proof-of-concept event to showcase how the JPALS system could be reconfigured into a mobile version to guide aircraft to land in a traditional airport setting.

The expeditionary JPALS version currently fits in five transit cases. The company noted that the system could be repackaged for small, transit vehicles that are transportable by C-130.

It can be set up in less than 90 minutes, once on the ground. The technology will help US Air Force pilots to perform landings on austere runways in remote regions.