SAN DIEGO, 14 Oct. 2015. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA‑ASI) launched a company-owned Predator B aircraft integrated with a certified Rohde & Schwarz R&S MR6000A air traffic control radio from its Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. The flight test lasted 48 minutes and supports RPA airworthiness certification requirements for European customers.
“Integrating Rohde & Schwarz’s R&S MR6000A aboard Predator B is a big step forward in meeting the airworthiness type-certification requirements of our current and future European customers,” explains GA-ASI CEO Linden P. Blue. “We are excited to leverage R&S MR6000A’s capabilities to enhance Predator B’s safe flight in domestic and international airspace further.”
The R&S MR6000A is a key component in supporting GA-ASI’s effort to deliver its Certifiable Predator B (CPB) RPA -- also known as an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and drone -- to European customers and to add additional German and European payload capability into its Predator-series aircraft. The R&S MR6000A radio was certified on the A400M as RTCA/DO‑178B (level C) and RTCA/DO‑254 (DAL C) by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). It is already in service on the Airbus A400M Atlas. The radio supports both VHF and UHF air-to-air and air-to-ground communications.
During the company-funded test, Predator B demonstrated its ability to integrate the R&S MR6000A airborne radio, delivering VHF radio communication to and from dismounted ground users equipped with a standard VHF aviation radio.
GA-ASI engineers plans to integrate the R&S MR6000A into CPB’s design. It will include hardware and software upgrades and a state-of-the-art Detect and Avoid (DAA) system featuring an airborne Due Regard Radar (DRR) for operation in non-cooperative airspace. Additionally, the aircraft will be designed to survive bird and lightning strikes and will be equipped with a de-icing system. CPB initially will target NATO type-certification standards with completion of the first-article production aircraft in late 2017.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, delivers situational awareness by providing remotely piloted aircraft systems, radar, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems business unit is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable RPA systems, including Predator A, Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper, Gray Eagle, the new Predator C Avenger®, and Predator XP. It also manufactures a variety of state-of-the-art digital Ground Control Stations (GCS), including the next-generation Advanced Cockpit GCS, and provides pilot training and support services for RPA field operations. The Mission Systems business unit designs, manufactures, and integrates the Lynx Multi-mode Radar and sophisticated Claw sensor control and image analysis software into both manned and remotely piloted aircraft. It also focuses on providing integrated sensor payloads and software for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft platforms and develops high energy lasers, electro-optic sensors, and meta-material antennas.