Honeywell (Stand A712) is here at Asian Aerospace 2006 exhibiting its RDR-4000 weather radar, currently being certified on the A380. The first commercial application, though, will be the Boeing 777-300ER with a first delivery in November.
Karl Klewer, the company’s avionics technical manager in Singapore, told Aviation International News that a feature of the RDR-4000 is a much shorter waveguide. Honeywell designers managed to relocate the receiver-transmitter units next to the moving 30-inch-diameter antenna. This yields less signal loss and therefore better turbulence detection. “Otherwise, on the A380, we would not have been able to detect a windshear because the waveguide would have been so long that we would have lost too much signal,” Klewer said.
The processor is said to be 60 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter than current models. In addition, new motors make the moving antenna quieter. “Some first-class passengers in a Boeing 747’s upper deck had complained about the noise of the sweeping antenna,” Klewer explained.
Honeywell has borrowed the pulse compression technology from the military. This contributes to the radar’s improved range of 320 nm. The antenna sweeps altitudes from the ground to 60,000 feet. The information is then displayed as “slices” of weather. These slices can provide the pilots with either a top-down view or a side view along their flight plan.
The RDR-4000 is already flying on the C-17 military transport. On a commercial airliner, a single RDR-4000 installation sells for under $100,000. In the future, it can be adapted to smaller aircraft such as business jets, Klewer said.