JSF landing system delivered to Italian Navy in record time

JSF landing system delivered to Italian Navy in record time

The NAWCAD WOLF Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems team delivered the AN/SPN-41B system to the Italian Navy with a schedule reduction of over 75%. The AN/SPN-41B system, a precision electronic approach and landing aid. Pictured left to right are Juan Carlos Ugarte, Barrett Straub, Rick Courtney, Pat Callahan, Trevor Smith, and Mark Thomson.

Rapid engineering techniques by NAWCAD Webster Outlying Field (WOLF)’s Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems (ATC&LS) division recently delivered the AN/SPN-41B Instrument Carrier Landing System years ahead of schedule to the Italian Navy for its Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Two years ago, the Italian Navy approached NAWCAD WOLF requesting the AN/SPN-41B, a Instrument Carrier Landing System that provides shipboard guidance information to Navy and Marine Corps aircraft. The system was needed as a replacement to a previous system aboard its aircraft carrier, ITS Cavour (CVH-550). Funding arrived from the Italians in fall 2019 along with its request for delivery in early 2020.

“We planned out the project and provided a timeline of 22 months upon receipt of funding,” said Barrett Straub, lead project engineer and head of the ATC&LS division. “The Italians gave us initial funding in September 2019 and requested delivery in early 2020, merely months later! It was an interesting challenge for us to figure out how to make it happen for the customer.”

Determined to deliver ahead of schedule, the engineering team cannibalized another asset, allowing the team to work around the procurement of parts with long lead times. The engineering techniques ensured WOLF delivered the landing system five days earlier than the previously reduced schedule from almost two years to five months.

The effort was collaborative with PMA-213 leadership’s critical help with Italian Navy coordination as well as AN/SPN-41B project schedule realignment. NAWCAD’s ATC Landing Systems Flight Test branch was also crucial in getting the test flight scheduled and completed. Additionally, WOLF’s team worked closely with its industry partners — BAE Systems, Amelex, Inc., and SAIC—to ensure the work was completed in time.

“Without the help and accommodation of government and industry partners, the project couldn’t have been completed,” said Larry Whites, ATC&LS division director. “Webster Field is NAWCAD’s organic Lead Systems Integrator (oLSI). Seamless partnering is a critical component of successful oLSI, a fact confirmed through this project’s completion in record time, all while the schedule for U.S. builds was not impacted.”

The team will support Cavour’s installation of AN/SPN-41B in March, and perform the Precision Aircraft Landing System certification in September.

Webster Outlying Field is NAWCAD’s rapid capability engineering source and organic systems integrator. The organization develops integrated and interoperable quality products for the warfighter in the areas of Command, Control Communications, Combat Systems, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems; air traffic control; sensors; command/operation centers; intelligence management; and identification to advance capabilities and operational readiness for naval aviation, the DOD, and other government agencies.