The U.S. Army installed the first Ground-Based Sense and Avoid (GBSAA) system radar at Ford Hood, Texas, it said on Dec. 15.

Fort Hood has two MQ-1C Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) companies and is one of five installations that are to acquire the system. This GBSAA is the first of a set of radar procured by the Army to provide a “Sense and Avoid” capability to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) at the installation.

GMSAA consists of various complex subsystems, including multiple 3-D radar (LSTAR), data fusion, tracker, classifier, separation algorithms, and displays. These were all being designed and developed for the Sense and Avoid system.

Because unmanned systems do not have a pilot onboard, they cannot safely navigate in airspace with other traffic, particularly aircraft that are not transponding or cooperating within the airspace system. The Army currently uses visual observers to provide the necessary “See and Avoid” function required by Federal Regulation, either on the ground or in a chase plane. The GBSAA is to initially support UAS transitioning from airfields in the NAS to restricted areas for training and testing.

The GBSAA system is designed to be compatible with any UAS, in any airspace, and under any operational need. The system is meant to allow UAS to fly as safely as manned aircraft in all kinds of airspace. Transitioning to restricted areas is only a first step, with operations in Military Operating Areas (MOA) in the very near future, the Army said.

“The GBSAA system has exceeded all of its performance requirements, from the test bed to the full system concept demonstrations and follow-on testing,” Col. Courtney Cote, Project Manager for UAS, said in a statement. “This system provides the alternate means of compliance with FAA regulatory requirements that will enable our Army to perform the critical mission training they need.”

The Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airspace Integration Concepts (USAIC) product directorate manages the system and worked with the Directorate of Aviation Operations, Directorate of Public Works, Network Enterprise Center, and Army units to install the radar system.

The Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airspace Integration Concepts product directorate is part of the Project Office for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

“We are very excited to finally see this come to fruition,” Viva Kelley, product director for USAIC, added.

“The whole team has been working very hard on this program since its inception. I am very proud of my team’s accomplishments, and in the end, it will provide the Army with a safer and more effective way with which to conduct UAS training and testing.”

Fort Hood is the first site to receive the system and was to have hardware installed by mid-December. Before becoming fully operational in 2015, the hardware is to continue to collect data for a safety analysis and report. Analyzing the data will allow operators to verify if the radar is seeing everything and give the safety team a good understanding of the airspace traffic, the Army said.

Site preparations have already begun at the second site to field the GBSAA. The program is currently on schedule and cost to fully field the first unit before the end of fiscal year 2015.