24 May 10. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. has successfully completed a set of flight tests of its next generation Synthetic Aperture Radar/Ground Moving Target Indicator (SAR/GMTI) radar, the Lynx® Advanced Multi-channel Radar (AMR), on the company’s capital Predator® B UAS. The flights were completed on May 7 at GA-ASI’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., following software testing and aircraft payload integration.
“This first flight of the Lynx AMR on Predator B marks the first time that radar dismount detection capability has been demonstrated on a Predator-class aircraft,” said Linden Blue, president, Reconnaissance Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. “This critical milestone demonstrates the ‘plug-and-play’ attributes of the Lynx QRC [Quick Reaction Capability] AMR and is the last major objective we needed to achieve before offering this capability to various customers by the end of 2010.”
During the AMR flight tests, the radar was specifically evaluated for dismount (personnel walking or running) detection performance over its full field-of-regard. Lynx AMR achieves unmatched dismount detection performance using Space Time Adaptive Processing (STAP) and delivers compliant STANAG 4607 output to the Ground Control Station (GCS) and its dissemination channels. The GCS software also supports real-time cross-cueing to the aircraft’s Electro-Optical Infrared (EO/IR) payload. The flight test campaign included evaluation of the currently operational Lynx SAR in nose-on geometry at Predator B loitering speeds. Using a typical route surveillance ‘push broom’ flight profile, Lynx was able to detect slow walking people without modifications to the currently operational software. This effectiveness was verified through several instrumented tests to characterize the performance envelope.
25 May 10. AeroVironment, Inc. today announced that the first aircraft developed under the Global Observer™ Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program has successfully completed key ground tests in preparation for flight testing. The joint Department of Defense, NASA and AV team successfully performed ground vibration, structural and taxi tests at Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB) in California. AV developed and fabricated Aircraft 1 in its dedicated manufacturing facility located in Southern California and shipped it to EAFB in December 2009. AV is developing the Global Observer unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to be the first to provide robust, cost-effective and persistent communications and surveillance over any location. Six U.S. government agencies have provided more than $120m in funding for the JCTD program.
“Global Observer is designed to perform above and beyond the capabilities of any other existing aircraft. The unique benefit of this truly unblinking eye will be its ability to watch, listen and relay communications signals flexibly, affordably and without interruption,” said Tim Conver, AV’s chairman and chief executive officer. “The need for affordable and seamless persistence is great, and we look forward to demonstrating this important capability during the final phase of the Global Observer JCTD program.”
Each aircraft in a Global Observer system is designed to fly at an altitude of between 55,000 and 65,000 feet for 5 to 7 days. In addition to flying above weather and above other conventional airplanes, operation in this altitude range means that sensor payloads on the aircraft will be able to view a circular area on the surface of the earth up to 600 miles in diameter, equivalent to more than 280,000 square miles of coverage. Equipped with payloads that are readily available today, two Global Observer aircraft would alternate coverage over any location on the globe every 5 to 7 days, making this the first solution to provide customers with practical, seamless coverage, wherever and whenever required.
The joint Department of Defense, NASA and AV team b