MARTIN MARIETTA expects to announce a launch order in March for "significantly more than 100" Autonomous Precision Approach and Landing Systems (APALS) from an unnamed operator.

The company is guaranteeing US certification of the radar-based APALS as equivalent to a Category III instrument-landing system (ILS) by the end of 1996.

The APALS precision-approach aid is being marketed as an alternative to the microwave-landing system (MLS) or proposed ILS/MLS multi-mode receiver, says business-development manager Otto Dieffenbach (Flight International, 5-11 October, 1994).

Martin Marietta is guaranteeing delivery by 1 July 1997, of systems ordered before 1 January 1996.

It plans flight tests of a prototype APALS in May-June, followed by customer demonstrations in August-September. Flight-testing of the production system is scheduled to begin in December. Certification testing will begin on the launch-customer's aircraft in February 1996, Dieffenbach says.

The system will be certificated initially for Cat IIIb automatic landings, with the APALS providing ILS-like signals to the autopilot. This aircraft-specific approval will provide the model for subsequent certifications, he says, with the APALS linked to a flight director or head-up display.

Martin Marietta has added an X-band radar transceiver and Cat I/II/III approach-database to the APALS, priced at no more than $175,000 for a dual system. The transceiver minimises weather-radar modifications and simplifies installation, which Dieffenbach says makes the system less expensive overall than the MLS.

Source: Flight International