Supports Sense-and-Avoid Architecture, Sets Stage for Unmanned Aircraft Tests
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), tactical reconnaissance radars, and electro-optic surveillance systems, today announced the successful demonstration of an early prototype of its Due Regard Radar on a manned aircraft. The Due Regard Radar is a company-funded system that supports GA-ASI’s overall radar-based airborne sense-and-avoid architecture for its Predator® B UAS.
“The successful demonstration of our Due Regard Radar represents a major milestone in the development of the company’s airborne sense-and-avoid radar architecture,” said Linden Blue, president, Reconnaissance Systems Group, GA-ASI. “Equipping a highly reliable UAS such as Predator B with this capability will expand its capacity to operate routinely in domestic and international airspace, ensuring its interoperability with civilian air traffic and airspace rules and regulations.”
Installed on a surrogate Twin Otter aircraft, the Due Regard Radar’s first successful flight test occurred October 17, 2011 in California off the coast of San Diego and in Borrego Springs. During the test, the radar system, which is based upon an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, successfully detected “intruder” King Air aircraft encroaching upon the Twin Otter’s airspace. The purpose of the test was to collect data for algorithm development, laying the groundwork for additional manned flight testing.
Following the completion of manned flight tests, testing will begin on unmanned aircraft. Development work will continue until the radar has achieved a technology readiness level of 7, tentatively setting the stage for customer introduction in 2015. Long-term plans include rolling out the capability to other aircraft in the Predator/Gray Eagle™ UAS family.