The manufacturer of the Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper announced two new technological developments related to the company’s “sense and avoid” research efforts. Working with the Federal Aviation Administration and Honeywell, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., recently tested a proof of concept SAA system, marking the first successful test of the FAA’s Airborne Collision Avoidance System for Unmanned Aircraft, according to a company release. The system includes sensor fusion capabilities to provide the pilot a clear picture of traffic around the aircraft and automatic collision avoidance. It was tested in early September at GA-ASI’s Palmdale, Calif., facility on a Predator B aircraft. The test is touted as a “major step forward for integrating RPAs safely into domestic and international airspace,” GA-ASI President Frank Pace said, adding the system will now undergo extensive flight testing with the FAA, NASA, and other industry partners. In a separate development, GA-ASI said it has also tested a pre-production air-to-air radar for SAA systems, called the “Due Regard Radar” on a Beechcraft King Air, tracking multiple aircraft out to 10 miles. The radar eventually will help enable routine operations in domestic and international airspace, according to the release.
As the U.S. continues to pursue a diplomatic resolution with Russia over its troop buildup on the Ukraine border, the Defense Department is looking into what capabilities it will need to reassure NATO allies if Russia does launch an invasion, its top spokesperson said Jan. 21.