General Atomics Aeronautical Systems tests Due Regard Radar aboard manned aircraft, sets stage for unmanned aircraft testing

SAN DIEGO, 1 March 2012. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA‑ASI), a manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), tactical reconnaissance radars, and electro-optic surveillance systems, has unveiled an early prototype of its Due Regard Radar on a manned aircraft. Following the completion of manned flight tests, testing will begin on unmanned aircraft.

The Due Regard Radar, installed on a surrogate Twin Otter aircraft, underwent a flight test in off the coast of San Diego and in Borrego Springs, Calif. The Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system detected “intruder” King Air aircraft encroaching upon the Twin Otter’s airspace during the test. The purpose of the test was to collect data for algorithm development, laying the groundwork for additional manned flight testing.

The company-funded Due Regard Radar system supports GA-ASI’s 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,” says 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.”

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.  



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