Military Embedded Systems

Due Regard Radar tested onboard Predator B aircraft by General Atomics

News

February 13, 2015

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

SAN DIEGO. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), officials announced that they flight tested a pre-production Due Regard Radar (DRR), which marks the first functional air-to-air radar on a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that meets the requirements for “Due Regard” operations in international airspace. Enabling such technology will help in the long run integrate UAVs into international and domestic airspace.

“RR will allow users to operate Predator B independently in international airspace without the need for land-based, sea-based, or off-board airborne airspace surveillance, offering our customers greater freedom of movement around the globe,” says Frank Pace, President, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI.

The purpose of the test performed was to verify the DRR’s functionality onboard a Predator B UAV, as well as integration with the Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) II with Resolution Advisories, which is the collision avoidance system that is used on many commercial aircraft today. The collision avoidance maneuvers were automatically executed onboard Predator B to verify system functionality and then validate hardware-in-the-loop simulations.

Throughout December, multiple flight tests occurred at the GA-ASI Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility and Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, Calif. Predator B was then flown in scripted encounters against multiple small- and medium-sized manned aircraft while the pre-production DRR simultaneously tracked multiple targets and then continued to search a wide Field-of-Regard (FoR).

GA-ASI’s Due Regard capability, which has the pre-production DRR and other components, is now at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 7 and is ready for a user to take into an operational environment to conduct an Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E). The company’s Sense and Avoid (SAA) system, which integrates the DRR and TCAS II capabilities, is now at TRL 6 and will mature once it meets all of the requirements being developed by Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) Special Committee 228. The integrated SAA system will continue to fly aboard NASA’s Ikhana (Predator B) this year in support of a series of NASA flight tests that will measure the performance of the entire system in multiple situations.