Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has developed and patented a low-cost radar technology that will, for the first time, provide both military and civil air traffic controllers with the capability to avoid airborne hazards around unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), which costs the Pentagon millions in damaged aircraft.
Under the Ground Based Sense and Avoid (GBSAA) initiatives with the U.S. Air Force to repurpose existing National Airspace System (NAS)-certified radars, UAS operators and controllers will have more information to help them make safer decisions. Since current ATC radars can only see airspace in two dimensions -- latitude and longitude -- UAS operators and controllers must assume that any hazard detected also resides on the same altitude.
"Traditional air traffic control radars have only been able to see in two dimensions since the 1950s," said Mike Prout, vice president for Raytheon Network Centric Systems' Security and Transportation Systems. "Our comprehensive technology provides one more dimension that gives UAS operators and controllers what they need to get the mission done."
Currently UAS operators have to avoid any potential hazard in the airspace, even those that may be far from the UAS in altitude. With the ATC radars repurposed through a software enhancement to detect altitude, the install-base of ATC radars will be able to detect all hazards in the NAS and provide the altitude resolution information needed by controllers and UAS operators to safely and efficiently direct the UAS.
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