The Air Force is funding development of sense-and-avoid systems for remotely piloted aircraft, such as this MQ-9 Reaper. USAF photo:Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio, March 20 By Richard Tomkins (UPI)
The U.S. Air Force has given funding to an Ohio company to research and develop electro-optical sensors for sense-and-avoid systems for airborne remotely piloted vehicles.
The U.S. Air Force reports it is providing nearly $1.5 million in SBIR funding for development and maturation of sense-and-avoid technology for remotely piloted aircraft.
The funding, through its Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer program, was given to Defense Research Associates Inc. of Ohio, whose research focuses on electro-optical sensors for detecting and tracking potential obstacles to remotely piloted vehicles in flight, The Air Force said.
The company's research is expected to uncover other technologies to improve SAA systems and prepare them for transition to engineering and manufacturing development and initial low-rate production.
"In addition to the SBIR funding, this program leverages more than $2 million in additional funding from the Airborne Sense and Avoid program, managed by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base," the Air Force said. "These funds will help ensure the Phase II effort graduates into a Phase III program that successfully transitions its technologies into military or private sector."