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21 May 2014

ILA 2014: GA-ASI and Rohde & Schwarz to Develop Voice Comms Certification for PREDATOR B

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), a leading manufacturer of RPA systems, radars, and EO and related mission systems, and Rohde & Schwarz (R&S), a leading manufacturer of wireless communications, Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Test and Measurement (T&M) equipment, and broadcasting T&M equipment for digital terrestrial television, announced on 21 May at ILA 2014 that they have signed a Teaming Agreement to integrate and flight demonstrate R&S’ air traffic control radios on the PREDATOR B/MQ-9 REAPER RPAs.

We are continuing to integrate German and European payloads and communications systems into our aircraft while ensuring compliance with airworthiness standards,” said Linden P. Blue, CEO, GA-ASI (right). “R&S’ expertise in the design, development, and production of radio communications systems that carry airworthiness certifications will bring us one step closer to achieving this goal.” Dr. Thomas Nicolay, Director Sales and Business Development Europe and North America, Rhode & Schwarz is standing on left signing the cooperation. (Photo: Mönch)

The agreement supports both companies’ efforts to add additional German and European content into PREDATOR -series aircraft. At the same time, the integration of the R&S radios also supports GA-ASI’s effort to deliver a “Certifiable” PREDATOR B RPA. GA-ASI is forecasting to deliver aircraft that are fully compliant with the airworthiness certification requirements of NATO customers, including STANAG 4671.

In the final design configuration, two radio systems will be placed in the aircraft, along with potentially another two radios in the Ground Control System (GCS). The R&S MR6000A - from the successful R&S VHF/UHF R&S M3AR airborne transceiver family - is one of the first radios of its kind that meets civil aviation certification requirements and ensures compatibility with military and civilian avionics specifications. The first flight test of PREDATOR B with a single R&S MR6000A radio system is scheduled for later this year at GA-ASI’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, CA/USA. The test will encompass verification of control and frequency management using the Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS) communications path. In addition, GA-ASI foresees an adjunct demonstration of a radio relay and communication to dismounted soldiers should flight resources allow.

In April 2013, GA-ASI expanded its relationship with its German partner, RUAG Aerospace Services, to allow for increased collaboration in establishing compliance with NATO airworthiness standards. Similarly, the radio certification effort with R&S will be leveraged to market the aircraft jointly to US and European government entities.

Dr. Thomas Nicolay, Director Sales and Business Development Europe and North America, Rhode & Schwarz (left) and Linden blue, CEO General Atomics-ASI signing the cooperation. (Photo: Mönch)

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