LAS VEGASGeneral Atomics Aeronautical Systems has successfully tested a new airborne imaging system for detecting roadside bombs, the company said this week during the Association For Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) conference here.

The testing of the Nightlighter system aboard Twin Otter aircraft at China Lake, Calif., took place under the sponsorship of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO). It is currently being developed to operate off a King Air 350 aircraft, General Atomics said.

General Atomics is the maker of the Predator family of unmanned aerial vehicles, which are armed with Hellfire missiles and have played a key role in the war on terrorism along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Nightlighter is designed as a high altitude imaging system to identify improvised explosive devices in day or night and conduct other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions (ISR), General Atomics said.

“Identifying and defeating IEDs before they detonate is one of today’s most pressing ISR challenges,” said Michael Perry, General Atomics’ vice president of its Reconnaissance Systems Group.

Nightlighter is derived from the company’s Highlighter electro-optic sensor system, which was developed in 2005 and deployed to Iraq but is a daylight only system.