General Atomics - Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has successfully flight tested a sense-and-avoid radar aboard a Twin Otter test bed. The Due Regard active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar is intended for eventual installation on the MQ-1 Predator/Gray Eagle and MQ-9 Reaper unmanned air vehicles (UAV).
A sense-and-avoid radar is a crucial component of deconflicting the aircraft with civilian air traffic, a prerequisite of allowing UAVs into civilian airspace. The FAA FY2013 budget, recently passed into law, gives the regulator three years to form a plan for introducing UAVs into civilian airspace.
"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 of the reconnaissance systems group at 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."
GA-ASI plans to integrate Due Regard onto an unmanned aircraft to continue testing. The company expects the radar to be ready for for customer introduction by 2015.
GA-ASI was not immediately available for comment.