Growth in ground incidents has prompted development of system, based on helicopter obstacle avoidance radar

Amphitech will unveil a mock-up of a millimetre wave (MMW) radar for runway incursion monitoring at the Farnborough air show in July. The system is a development of the Canadian technology company's Oasys helicopter obstacle warning radar, which is due to enter service later this year.

Claude Letourneau, Amphitech board member, says the new system will also incorporate technology developed for a ship radar based on the Oasys.

The runway incursion radar, measuring 150 x 200mm (6 x 8in), will be smaller than the helicopter unit and mounted on the undercarriage or in the nose of airliners and business aircraft.

Letourneau says the increasing number of runway incursions - 430 in the USA in 2000 - is driving the company's decision to develop such a system.

Amphitech is developing the radar "speculatively", says Letourneau, adding that standards for such devices are still being discussed by regulators and potential users.

Unlike the Oasys, which uses a combination of mechanical scanning and electrical beam steering, the runway incursion radar will be fixed with an antenna optimised for a wide azimuth and narrow elevation field of view. A combination of mechanical scan and "innovative beam steering" developed for the maritime radar will be used.

Meanwhile, the first Oasys is due to be handed over in June for installation on a Canadian Helicopters Bell 212, with a supplemental type certificate (STC) to be awarded by Transport Canada. Amphitech says the radar can detect a power cable at 1.85km (1nm).

Dart Aerospace is marketing the device, offering it at under $200,000 including installation, says Letourneau. Six installations could be completed by year-end.

Later it aims to win STCs for the Agusta A109, Eurocopter EC135 and MD Helicopters Explorer.

The radar is integrated with the helicopter's GPS satellite navigation system and presents warnings on a glareshield-mounted display which indicates the closeness of an obstacle, based on the aircraft's speed. The lowest, white, indication provides a 16-20s warning while the highest, red, advisory gives 8s warning.

The sweep of the beam is adapted automatically by the system to provide coverage along the helicopter's flight path.

Source: Flight International