Honeywell (Hall 4, F16) has launched its next generation RDR-4000 weather radar system, which it claims is the first totally new design of weather radar for 25 years.

The new system promises to ease pilot workload and give more information about the weather above and below the pilot's flight path. It also brings windshear detection capabilities to smaller aircraft.

RDR-4000 has already been selected for the Airbus A380 as part of Honeywell's Aircraft Environment Surveillance System (AESS). American Airlines has also selected RDR-4000 for a fleet retrofit.

The radar uses "3-D volumetric scanning" to scan a strip of sky from the ground to 60,000ft (18,000m). This creates a three-dimensional database of information, which can then be analysed by the computer.

The system can also show a side view of this vertical slice of weather, either along a user-selected direction from the flight path or the intended flight path as determined by the Flight Management System (FMS). It features a built-in terrain database to ensure unwanted ground returns are eliminated.

RDR-4000 is smaller and lighter than a traditional air transport weather radar and can provide forward-looking windshear detection with an antenna as small as 12in (300mm) diameter, half that of Honeywell's existing RDR-4B. This beings a windshear detection capability to smaller aircraft, including regional airlines and business jets.

Mechanically, the system has direct drive antenna motors with no gears or bearings, and its "no waveguide" design eliminates loss of performance. The all solid-state system also promises to be more reliable than existing radars and bring lower operating costs.

Frank Daly, president of Honeywell Air Transport Systems, says: "Our design team broke all the moulds when they conceived the system. We have invested in a massive design effort for it and no previous commercial weather radar has ever come close to providing the safety and operational benefits it will bring to aviation."

The radar is the commercial derivative of the RDR-4000M military version that is being fitted to the US Air Force's fleet of Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft and the Japan C-X transport.

Initial deliveries are due in the first quarter of 2005.

Pix: Supplied by NWAA Marketing Manager Paul Hughes, Alliance team holding up Rolls Royce engine OR set-up pic on Monday of an aerial shot with NWAA members in the shape of the number 50



Source: Flight Daily News