Historically, conventional radar systems have been larger structures, secured on massive towers or mountaintops. These systems enable users to track aircraft from hundreds of miles away through crowded airspace at comparatively high elevations; however, the current systems refresh at slower rates and are unable to produce detailed images at low elevations. Skyler technology provides data containing details of low-level airspace that often go undetected using these conventional mechanical radar systems. This is achieved through the use of distributed, smaller active electronically scanned array (AESA) software-defined radars that produce high-quality images, providing coverage of low altitudes that were not previously seen. Adaptive beam scanning allows the radar to track more targets using a dynamic scheduler for faster updates.
Skyler is changing the way we think about radar surveillance and systems by designing radars as a network to solve some of today’s challenges. A network of Skyler units provide innovative data for low-altitude flights of smaller aircraft and drones, while simultaneously supporting higher altitude air traffic and weather. The technology features a 3-D scanning, dual-polarization radar pencil beam that provides localized high-resolution weather data, enables small drone detection and tracking, supports border security and surveillance, assists in wildfire detection, and delivers elevation and geographic gap-fills. In short, data that is nonexistent with current sensors is brought to life by Skyler.
Building a network of software-defined, phased-array radars creates adaptability on the same hardware platform. Skyler is intended to be more than a radar; it is a surveillance platform with “apps” that support multiple missions. This is possible through the use of AESA technology, which allows Skyler to instantly steer its beam, giving applications the capability to track a storm in real-time without waiting for the radar to spin around again or optimally surveil important targets. A Skyler network will increase accuracy and precision to inform end-users with the data they need to implement in the shared, manned and unmanned airspace. Ultimately, Raytheon’s Skyler improves coverage, reception, quality and timeliness.
Teamed with small business and academia, Raytheon is committed to the realization of Skyler technology for airport operators, weather forecasters, first responders, air and navigation services providers, military organizations, and government agencies. This is evident through an evolutionary approach to research and development, highlighted by key demonstrations of continuous integration. Raytheon is on track for initial production of the latest generation of hardware in 2019.