Gryphon Sensors addresses UAS integration

07 August 2017
Gryphon Sensors displayed its Skylight UAV detection system to an international audience for the first time at World ATM Congress in Madrid in March 2017. Skylight includes a 3D, X-band AESA radar (right of picture) for detecting non-co-operative small targets. Source: J Beechener

Skylight detection system is designed to help unmanned aircraft operate safely and securely in controlled airspace

Gryphon Sensors tested its Skylight unmanned aerial system (UAS) detection solution at a commercial airport for the first time in May 2017. The demonstration at Dallas/Fort Worth International was part of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Pathfinder initiative, which targets support safe integration of UAS into US airspace. In 2016, the FAA signed Co-operative Research and Development Agreements (CRDA) with Gryphon, Liteye Systems, Sensofusion, and CACI, specifically to focus on the detection and identification of UAS flying too close to airports.

Skylight comprises a primary radar, passive RF direction finding, and electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) cameras. It was tested on a wide variety of UAS platforms on a closed runway over four consecutive nights, under different weather and visibility conditions. The FAA is using the findings to help build a UAS safety strategy for US airports, and to develop initial minimum performance standards for UAS detection systems at airports.

Syracuse, New York-based Gryphon began developing sensors to address the UAS security market following its formation by parent company SRC Inc in 2014. “SRC has made products, such as radar and counter-UAS for the Department of Defense for over 60 years,” Gryphon President Tony Albanese told Jane’s . “Our mission is to de-conflict the world’s low-altitude airspace. We want to help integrate drones into the airspace for commercial purposes.” Gryphon sensor packages are designed to protect critical infrastructure such as airports, nuclear power plants, and prisons.

The UAS detection solution employs the Gryphon Sensors R1400: a three-dimensional (3D) active electronically scanned array (AESA) air surveillance radar operating in the X-band (9.3–9.8 GHz). The radar detects non-co-operative small targets (such as the DJI Phantom quadcopter) up to 10 km distant, and small aircraft (such as Cessna) up to 27 km away.

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