The United States Air Force (USAF) conducts flight operations around the globe, at remote locations and in the austere environments of many forward operating bases. The USAF’s Expeditionary
Airfield Lighting System (EALS) plays a crucial role in airfield operations where existing runway and approach lighting are unavailable or non-operational.
The EALS is a rapidly installed runway lighting system that supports flying operations at night, during periods of reduced visibility, and in adverse weather. This airfield lighting capability is critical in ensuring safe flying operations.
With evolving technology and the legacy systems needing repairs and upgrades after decades of operation, the USAF began searching for its next generation product.
The USAF required an advanced, modernized system with a more flexible configuration, safe and efficient power options, and the ability for airmen to rapidly deploy and operate the airfield lighting system. Meeting these requirements would be critical to the USAF’s ability to safely execute its mission in support of continuously evolving defense and humanitarian operations worldwide.
In partnership with Tactical Lighting Systems (TLS), the TLS/Avlite team set out to deliver a lineup of tactical lighting fixtures and accessories with a single focus – to produce the world’s most complete, scalable and best performing expeditionary airfield lighting system. Avlite’s use of solar as the primary power source would reduce or eliminate the supply chain burden and prohibitive cost of transporting fuel for generators to remote locations. Solar capability greatly reduced the system installation time, minimizing the time it takes to begin safely landing aircraft. Additionally, Avlite’s employment of low voltage AC for backup power made for a safer electrical system for USAF civil engineers to operate and maintain.
Avlite has a rigorous track record of lighting expeditionary airfields for the U.S. Department of Defense, a record which was continued when Avlite won the USAF’s Interim EALS (IEALS) contract in July 2020.
Avlite configured our AV-HMALS® system to meet IEALS requirements and exacting specifications.
Each system contains portable solar LED airfield lighting for a 10,000ft runway, including CAT I approaches and ground lighting. The system trailers are designed for flexible maneuvering and rapid deployment. The trailers provide for storage with integrated charging of all lighting equipment.
Individual components of the AV-HMALS® includes Avlite’s Series 3 Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI), edge and threshold lights, medium intensity runway lights (MIRL), taxiway lights and CAT I medium intensity approach lighting system (MALSR). Additional components include a short simplified expeditionary approach lighting system (with GPS synchronized flashing), tactical runway signs, battery boxes, and power line communication control for five intensity steps in both visible and IR modes.
The production and delivery of the first AV-HMALS® IEALS system were executed flawlessly, and to widespread praise from the USAF. Following a successful two-week deployment, operation, testing and evaluation of Avlite’s IEALS system, the USAF added 11 systems to their initial purchase agreement.
According to the USAF, “The new Expeditionary Airfield Lighting System (EALS) is the Air Force’s first-ever deployable LED-lighting system that provides significant lighting improvements over the older, legacy EALS. Additionally, the light fixtures contain solar panels and internal batteries that permit operation with or without external power or generators. This not only saves fuel, but also reduces EALS installation times, an important task Civil Engineers are responsible for during airfield damage repair and recovery after attacks.”
Unlike other systems, AV-HMALS® is a portable aviation and approach lighting system designed to be used by the military. As AV-HMALS® is scalable, the initial system can be expanded. This allows the USAF to scale up but also allows smaller systems to be configured and deployed as necessary.
Delivering this unique and strategic project was a culmination of effort from every aspect of the business, following our expansion in manufacturing capacity in Tilton, New Hampshire, USA. We look forward to delivering these systems to the USAF and continuing our tradition of supporting military and humanitarian missions worldwide.
The new EALS (Expeditionary Airfield Lighting System) is the Air Force’s first-ever deployable LED-lighting system that provides significant lighting improvements over the older, legacy EALS. Additionally, the light fixtures contain solar panels and internal batteries that permit operation with or without external power or generators. This not only saves fuel, but also reduces EALS installation times, an important task Civil Engineers are responsible for during airfield damage repair and recovery after attacks.
United States Air Force Expeditionary Engineer