Raytheon is delivering the first commercial model of its Skyler low-power radar to the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR) in New York State.
The active electronically scanned array (AESA) 3D radar will start operations in the New York unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) corridor, a 50-mile (80 km) area of airspace reserved for low-altitude air traffic management testing, in the first half of 2019, a Raytheon spokesperson told Jane’s .
Skyler consists of 1 m 2 software-defined AESA radar units that update every second. A unit offers an instrumented range of 20 n miles for general aviation and 5 n miles for small UASs. “There’s a real paradigm shift happening now, and we’re not thinking of radar ranges in the traditional way. At low altitudes, you have the curvature of the earth and various obstacles to contend with. It’s no longer about how far a radar can see. It’s about how a netted ecosystem like Skyler can provide full coverage at low altitudes from every angle,” said the spokesperson.
Raytheon recently tested third-generation Skyler technology in Boulder, Colorado. The radar is smaller, weighs less, requires less power and has a new simultaneous dual polarisation capability. This provides the radar resolution required to tell the difference between hail and a raindrop, and expands the multifunction role of Skyler to include the ability to be dynamically modified in real-time according to the application. The new variant also includes digital beamforming and the option to choose radar antenna size.
Skyler is the result of lengthy in-house research, initially directed towards weather surveillance and followed more recently by small target detection. Raytheon aims to introduce the device to industry to support a range of applications such as airspace surveillance, precision weather observations, small UAS detection and tracking, and border security and surveillance.
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