GA-ASI Adds New Features to Predator/Reaper UAS

 - June 21, 2013, 11:30 AM
A depiction of a strike on a moving target by an MQ-9 Reaper UAV. GA-ASI has added new features to the sensors that make this possible. (Illustration: GA-ASI)

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) announced new features on the sensors available for the Predator/Reaper series. The company’s Lynx Block 20A multimode radar now has a “VideoSAR” software system and the ability to auto cross-cue to an EO/IR sensor.

VideoSAR provides imagery in high-definition 1080p format, “allowing users to see vehicles at rest, moving fast and everything in between,” according to Linden Blue, president of GA-ASI’s reconnaissance systems group. The new mode also enables GMTI (ground moving target indication) with low minimum detectable velocity and precise SAR geolocation accuracy, the company claims. The prototype system was installed on a Beechcraft King Air 200 and flown in late March. It is now being “ruggedized” for carriage on the company’s UAVs, including the jet-powered Predator-C.

The cross-cueing capability was demonstrated during a recent U.S. Navy exercise. The King Air 200 acted as a Predator B (Reaper) surrogate aircraft. It carried the Lynx radar to detect ground-based moving targets, and GA-ASI’s Claw payload software system automatically cross-cued them to a Flir Systems Star Safire 380HD EO/IR imaging system. According to GA-ASI, this next-generation data-dissemination capability allowed naval commanders to review data rapidly, modify follow-on mission flight planning and demonstrate ad-hoc mission retasking of the aircraft directly by commanders based in the Tactical Operations Center (TOC). Sensor imagery was also streamed to other U.S. government entities in real time.