General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) recently completed flight tests of its new Lynx advanced multi-channel radar (AMR) on its own Predator B unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The AMR combines the functions of a synthetic aperture radar and a ground moving target indicator.
According to the U.S. company, the flight trials in May at its Gray Butte flight operations facility in Palmdale, California, were the first time that radar dismount detection capability has been demonstrated on an aircraft in the Predator class of UASs. “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 this year,” said Linden Blue, president of the Reconnaissance Systems Group of GA-ASI.
During the flight tests, the AMR was evaluated for dismount detection performance (that is, the ability to detect ground personnel walking or running). For this function, the Lynx AMR uses space time adaptive processing (STAP) and delivers output to a ground control station and its dissemination channels, which comply with NATO’s STANAG 4607 military standards. The ground station software also supports real-time cross-cueing to the UAS’s electro-optical infrared payload.
The flight trials also included evaluation of the existing Lynx synthetic aperture radar function in nose-on geometry at Predator B loitering speeds. Using a typical route surveillance “push-broom” flight profile, Lynx was able to detect people walking slowly without having to modify the existing operational software.
“The ability to detect and track dismounts and slow moving vehicles over large areas and to cross-cue the on-board video sensor to areas of interest is an emerging military and civilian surveillance requirement,” said Blue. “The Lynx AMR provides this capability over its full field-of-regard in a low-cost, ‘plug-and-play’ configuration for Predator B and Sky Warrior Alpha aircraft.”
GA-ASI plans to continue development of the Lynx AMR software for the rest of this year to further improve the dismount detection performance before offering the system to U.S. Predator B and Sky Warrior Alpha operators, such as the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and the Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection.
In addition to being a UAS developer, GA-ASI (Hall 2 Stand A9) also specializes in tactical reconnaissance radar and surveillance systems.