General Atomics successfully tests radar onboard Predator UAS

By Patrick C. Miller | February 26, 2015

General Atomics has successfully flight tested a pre-production Due Regard Radar (DRR) on a Predator B remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), marking the first such use of a fully functional air-to-air radar that meets requirements for operations in international airspace.

The company said the development was a major technological advancement in the integration of UAS into national and international airspace. According to General Atomics, the radar demonstrated its ability to track multiple airborne targets across a wide field of regard.

“This flight test is the culmination of over four years of radar development activity,” said Frank Pace, president of General Atomics aircraft systems. “DRR 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.” 

The test verified the radar’s functionality with the General Atomics’ Predator B, as well as its integration with the Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) II—the system used on many commercial aircraft today. The collision avoidance maneuvers were automatically and successfully executed, the company said.

Last December, multiple flight tests occurred at General Atomics’ Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility and Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, California. The Predator B was flown in scripted encounters against multiple small- and medium-sized manned aircraft while the pre-production DRR simultaneously tracked multiple targets.

“This latest flight test aboard an RPA is a significant milestone in the continued maturation of our DRR air-to-air radar program that began in 2011,” said Claudio Pereida, General Atomics executive vice president of mission systems. “We are honored to be leading the effort to help define standards for flying aircraft such as Predator B in the national airspace system in close cooperation with the FAA, NASA, and our industry.”


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