Microwave Landing System
(MLS) is an all-weather, precision landingsystem originally intended to replace or supplement theInstrument LandingSystem(ILS). MLS has a number of operational advantages, including a wideselection of channels to avoid interference with other nearby airports, excellentperformance in all weather, and a small "footprint" at the airports.MLS employs 5GHz transmitters at the landing place which usepassiveelectronically scanned arraysto send scanning beams towards approachingaircraft. An aircraft that enters the scanned volume uses a special receiver thatcalculates its position by measuring the arrival times of the beams.The US version of MLS was a joint development between theFAA,NASA, and
theU.S. Department of Defense, was designed to provide precision navigationguidance for exact alignment and descent of aircraft on approach to a runway. Itprovides azimuth, elevation, and distance, as well as "back azimuth", for navigating from an aborted landing or missed approach. MLS channels were alsoused for short-range communications with airport controllers, allowing long-distance frequencies to be handed over to other aircraft.
The system may be divided into five functions: Approach azimuth, Back azimuth,Approach elevation, Range and Data communications.
APPROACH AZIMUTH GUIDANCE
The azimuth station transmits MLS angle and data on one of 200 channels withinthe frequency range of 5031 to 5091 MHz and is normally located about 1,000feet (300 m) beyond the stop end of the runway, but there is considerableflexibility in selecting sites. For example, for heliport operations the azimuthtransmitter can be collocated with the elevation transmitter.
The elevation station transmits signals on the same frequency as the azimuthstation. A single frequency is time-shared between angle and data functions andis normally located about 400 feet from the side of the runway between runwaythreshold and the touchdown zone.