The U.S. Navy Naval Air Traffic Management Systems Program Office (PMA-213) completed precision approach and landing system (PALS) certification on USS Essex (LHD 2) in April and began installation of two landing systems aboard the Italian Navy ship, ITS Cavour, despite restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic. After achieving first flight day confirmations for three USS Essex PALS systems: the AN/SPN-35 Precision Approach Landing System (PALS), the AN/SPN-41 Instrument Carrier Landing System (ICLS), and the AN/USN-3 Joint Precision and Approach Landing Systems (JPALS), teams from Naval Air Warfare Center Webster Outlying Field (NAWCAD WOLF) Atlantic Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems (ATC&LS), Naval Test Wing ATC&LS Test, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, and Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 were able to align the systems to support the warfighter.
PMA-213 International Landing System (ILS) and NAWCAD WOLF teams have also been working diligently on a compressed schedule to install and to facilitate full capability of AN/USN-3 and AN/SPN-41 systems on ITS Cavour. With onsite technical assistance no longer advisable, the teams looked to provide remote technical assistance. PMA-213 along with NAWCAD WOLF and contract support service personnel created a first-of-a-its kind Virtual Install Technical Assistance Guide for the AN/USN-3 and the AN/SPN-41, which serves as a checklist for both U.S. and Foreign Military Sales shipyard installers. To ensure a successful install and subsequent PALS certification on ITS Cavour, PMA-213 holds daily communications with the ship to monitor progress and mitigate technical issues.
Cavour (Italian: portaerei Cavour) is an Italian aircraft carrier launched in 2004. It is the flagship of the Italian Navy. Cavour was laid down by Fincantieri in June 2001, and was launched from the Riva Trigoso shipyard in Sestri Levante, on 20 July 2004. Sea trials began in December 2006, and she was officially commissioned 27 March 2008. Full operational capability (FOC) was reached 10 June 2009. It complements the Italian navy’s other aircraft carrier, the Giuseppe Garibaldi. The Italian Navy will replace its 16 Harriers with 15 (originally 22) Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning IIs. Cavour will have room for ten F-35Bs in the hangar, and six more parked on deck. The Italian aircraft carrier will undertake a preparatory training before sailing to the U.S. where the ship will conduct trials with the F-35B STOVL
The ship is designed to combine fixed wing V/STOL and helicopter air operations, command and control operations and the transport of military or civil personnel and heavy vehicles. The 134 m (440 ft), 2,800 m2 (30,000 sq ft) hangar space can double as a vehicle hold capable of holding up to 24 main battle tanks (typically Ariete) or many more lighter vehicles (50 Dardo IFV, 100+ Iveco LMV), and is fitted aft with access ramps rated to 70 tons, as well as two elevators rated up to 30 tons for aircraft. Cavour can also operate as landing platform helicopter, accommodating heavy transport helicopters (AgustaWestland UH-101A ASH) and 325 marines (91 more, on option). It is reported that modernization works on the Cavour has been completed.