Montreal-based Amphitech Systems is proposing the development of a 7kg (15lb) detect, sense and avoid (DSA) radar for medium and large unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) by 2010 through leveraging two existing miniaturisation efforts for the company's naval surface search and ground-based battlefield radar systems.

The Ku-band radar is forecast to be able to provide warning times of 27s in clear air conditions against an approaching aircraft with a radar cross section of 5m2 (54ft2) and at a range of 7.5km (4nm). The time between detection and calculation of a collision is estimated at 3s says Michel Pelletier, Amphitech senior engineer.

Speaking at the Unmanned Vehicle Systems Canada conference yesterday in Montebello, Quebec, he said the radar would also be able to detect low flying aircraft in cluttered conditions through an integrated moving target indication capability.

The DSA programme will primarily draw from Amphitech's surface search radar developed from 2003 under contract to the US Navy and placed into series production in 2004 to meet operational requirements. That system is “the size of a large soup can” says Pelletier, with the company currently planning to have a version optimised for use on unmanned surface vessels by late 2007.

Amphitech's new PSR-1400 battlefield radar, being released to the market late this year, and a proposed man portable version which is expected to be available from late next year, would also feed into the development programme.

The DSA system is expected to occupy a volume 275mm (11in) and 250mm. The system would use three antennas, one to transmit and two to receive with time differences used to calculate target elevation. The search volume would cover +/-110º to either side of the UAV nose and +/-20º elevation. In rain condition of 3mm/h the effective system detection range would fall to 4.8km.

Amphitech has been exploring detect, sense and avoid radar technology for some six years. Its Oasys radar trialled in the role by NASA in April 2003 aboard the Scaled Composites Proteus aircraft conducted as part of the former Environmental Research Aircraft Sensor Technology earth sciences programme.