General Atomics Tests Advanced Communications System Aboard Predator B

By Mike Ball / 14 Oct 2015

General Atomics Predator B RPAGeneral Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, has announced the successful flight of a company-owned Predator B integrated with a certified Rohde & Schwarz R&S MR6000A air traffic control radio. The flight lasted 48 minutes, launching from the company’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, California.

“Integrating Rohde & Schwarz’s R&S MR6000A aboard Predator B is a big step forward in meeting the airworthiness type-certification requirements of our current and future European customers,” said Linden P. Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “We are excited to leverage R&S MR6000A’s capabilities to enhance Predator B’s safe flight in domestic and international airspace further.”

The R&S MR6000A is a key component in supporting GA-ASI’s effort to deliver its Certifiable Predator B (CPB) RPA to European customers and to add additional German and European payload capability into its Predator-series aircraft. The R&S MR6000A radio was certified on the Airbus A400M as RTCA/DO‑178B (level C) and RTCA/DO‑254 (DAL C) by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). It is already in service on the A400M, making it a proven asset. The radio supports both VHF and UHF air-to-air and air-to-ground communications.

During the company-funded test, the Predator B demonstrated its ability to integrate the R&S MR6000A airborne radio, delivering VHF radio communication to and from dismounted ground users equipped with a standard VHF aviation radio.

GA-ASI next plans to integrate the R&S MR6000A into CPB’s design. Furthermore, it will include both hardware and software upgrades and a state-of-the-art Detect and Avoid (DAA) system featuring an airborne Due Regard Radar (DRR) for operation in non-cooperative airspace. Additionally, the aircraft will be designed to survive bird and lightning strikes and will be equipped with a de-icing system. CPB initially will target NATO type-certification standards with completion of the first-article production aircraft in late 2017.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact