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Precision landing system increases warfighter readiness overseas

Members of the 53rd and 270th Air Traffic Control Squadrons participate in hands-on Deployable Instrument Landing Systems training at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in St Joseph, Mo., in early 2019. The D-ILS vastly improves warfighter’s abilities to land in austere environments and low-visibility conditions. (Courtesy photo)

Members of the 53rd and 270th Air Traffic Control Squadrons participate in hands-on Deployable Instrument Landing Systems training at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in St Joseph, Mo., in early 2019. The D-ILS vastly improves warfighter’s abilities to land in austere environments and low-visibility conditions. (Courtesy photo)

A team finalizes the setup of the Deployable Instrument Landing Systems glideslope mast and shelter at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., in early 2019. The D-ILS program office, headquartered at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., deployed the technology to Shaw in September 2019 to support runway repair operations. (Courtesy photo)

A team finalizes the setup of the Deployable Instrument Landing Systems glideslope mast and shelter at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., in early 2019. The D-ILS program office, headquartered at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., deployed the technology to Shaw in September 2019 to support runway repair operations. (Courtesy photo)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – A team in the Digital Directorate here recently improved warfighter readiness by using the first Deployable Instrument Landing System at an airfield outside the United States.

In addition to deploying the D-ILS to Osan, Korea, personnel from the D-ILS program office have provided the technology to multiple airfields in the United States, including Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.

D-ILS is a capability that assists pilots in precision landing at deployed locations, especially on damaged or temporary airfields or in austere conditions, like low visibility or inclement weather.

“During a natural disaster, a humanitarian mission, or a combat operation, these systems can help improve warfighter readiness and save lives,” said Steven Paterson, D-ILS program manager. “It’s great to see the increased demand from major commands requesting these systems. The D-ILS is a proven capability with an outstanding 100% operational availability, and we’re excited about the prospect of expanding to more installations in the future.”

The team at Hanscom procures, contracts, and sustains the D-ILS technology. While the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, Paterson and his team are continuing to test the system in a variety of conditions at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.   

Plans to develop a D-ILS organic depot facility at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, are currently underway. This resource will provide maintenance and repair when the systems return from deployment. The team plans to enter into a sustainment contract by August 2023. 

The 53rd Air Traffic Control Squadron, headquartered at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, currently installs the D-ILS.

The D-ILS program office is part of the Aerospace Management Systems Division of the Digital Directorate, also headquartered here.