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12 Feb 15. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. successfully flight tested a pre-production Due Regard Radar (DRR), marking the first fully functional air-to-air radar on a RPA that meets the requirements for “Due Regard” operations in international airspace. The purpose of the test was to verify the DRR’s functionality onboard a Predator B RPA, plus integration with the Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) II with Resolution Advisories, which is the collision avoidance system used on many commercial aircraft today. The collision avoidance maneuvers were automatically and successfully executed onboard Predator B to verify system functionality and validate hardware-in-the-loop simulations. Throughout December, multiple flight tests occurred at GA-ASI’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility and Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, Calif. Predator B was flown in scripted encounters against multiple small- and medium-sized manned aircraft while the pre-production DRR simultaneously tracked multiple targets and continued to search a wide Field-of-Regard (FoR). GA-ASI’s Due Regard capability, which includes the pre-production DRR and other components, is now at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 7 and is ready for a customer to take into an operational environment to conduct an Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E). The company’s Sense and Avoid (SAA) system, which integrates the DRR and TCAS II capabilities, is currently at TRL 6 and will mature once it incorporates all of the requirements being developed by Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) Special Committee 228. The integrated SAA system will continue to fly aboard NASA’s Ikhana (Predator B) in 2015 in support of a series of NASA flight tests that will measure the performance of the entire system in a variety of situations.
10 Feb 15. Lockheed Martin rolls out Crowsnest solution. Key Points:
* IAI Elta confirmed as radar supplier for Lockheed Martin’s Crowsnest bid
* A downselect decision is due in Q2 2015
Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems (UKIS) has revealed details of its bid for the UK Royal Navy’s (RN’s) Crowsnest airborne surveillance and control (ASaC) programme, claiming that its proposed radar/mission system offers a ‘future-proofed’ solution exploiting the capability of IAI Elta’s EL/M-2052 active electronically scanned array (AESA) multimode radar. Intended to replace the RN’s current Sea King ASaC.7 (SKASaC) from 2018, the Crowsnest programme is based on the provision of a roll-on/roll-off mission fit for the 30 RN Merlin HM.2 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters currently being delivered under the Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme (MCSP). Current planning assumptions call for the acquisition of 10 Crowsnest kits; a Main Gate investment decision is planned for April 2016. Lockheed Martin UK, prime contractor for the Merlin HM.2 upgrade, in 2013 received a GBP24m (USD36.3m) Assessment Phase 3 (AP3) contract from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to manage a competition between Thales UK and the separate ‘firewalled’ Lockheed Martin UKIS mission system team for the design, development, and demonstration of the Crowsnest radar and mission system solution. AP3 activities are intended to mature the capability requirement, system requirements, system design, and subsequent programme for demonstration and manufacture and in-service support. Thales and Lockheed Martin each received AP3 technology demonstration contracts in late 2013; the rival proposals were submitted at the end of January 2015, with a downselection to a single solution expected during the second quarter of this year. The Lockheed Martin UKIS Crowsnest mission system team is bidding a solution that marries the HM.2 mission system introduced under the MCSP with two integrated sensor pods installed on weapon carrie