uAvionix Corporation defense customer, SURVICE Engineering of Belcamp, MD has been awarded a production contract from the Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Aircraft Systems Program Office. The production efforts will successfully equip U.S. warfighters using Tactical Resupply Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TRUAS) with innovative multirotor drones that augment logistical operations at the forward edge of the battlefield. uAvionix’s AIMS-certified RT-2087/ZPX Combat ID and Air Traffic Control surveillance system has been selected for inclusion in the production effort to satisfy the TRUAS Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Transponder and ADS-B requirements for UAS operating both in the battlefield and in civilian airspace.
“We congratulate SURVICE Engineering on this important award. The TRUAS program will provide an important function to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and demonstrates how innovative small UAS can support the warfighter in multiple roles. The RT-2087/ZPX delivers uncompromised performance in a convenient, rugged, miniaturized form factor that meets the needs of tactical UAS operations,” notes Christian Ramsey of uAvionix Corporation. “Our continued collaboration with SURVICE Engineering highlights the importance of proven and dependable low Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) avionics and their ability to deliver core functionality while not impacting UAS payload and range performance.”
Small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) require avionics with low size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements to maximize operational capabilities like extended range or increased payload capacity. When used for military purposes, these sUAS face additional requirements to ensure proper identification for airspace deconfliction and battlefield situational awareness. Specifically, combat UAS must be equipped with transponders that enable armed forces to distinguish between friendly and enemy aircraft. This capability, commonly known as Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), relies on encrypted transmissions between an interrogating device and the aircraft to prevent interception by hostile forces.
In the past, IFF transponders were large and heavy, suitable only for larger aircraft. However, the introduction and AIMS (Airworthiness and Interoperability Standard) certification of the RT-2087/ZPX in March 2021 have revolutionized the landscape. Tactical military operations can now utilize fully functional IFF micro transponders and associated crypto units that weigh in grams instead of pounds, providing a significant reduction in size and weight for sUAS deployments.
Relying on its best-in-class SWaP, the RT-2087/ZPX selected for use in SURVICE’s contract ably meets the TRUAS requirements and supports a timely delivery of improved tactical functionality to the warfighter. Capable of carrying more than 100 pounds over distances ranging from 6 to 15 km, the resulting TRUAS will support the delivery of critical supplies to forward-deployed units.
The uAvionix line of ZPX transponder products, such as the RT-2087/ZPX, enable secure Mode 5 platform identification for UAS. Each uAvionix ZPX transponder has a built-in crypto emulator to support development and testing without the security burdens imposed by using actual cryptos, and ZPX transponders possess Mode S/1090ES ADS-B functionality to comply with civil requirements and simplify equipage for military aircraft having to transit civil airspace.
uAvionix was founded with the mission of bringing safety solutions to aviation that accelerate the integration of UAS into National Airspace Systems (NAS). uAvionix offers innovative, low SWaP TSO certified and uncertified avionics and services for General Aviation (GA), Defense, and UAS markets. The team consists of an unparalleled engineering and management team with a unique combination of experience within avionics, surveillance, airport services, UAS aircraft development, radio frequency (RF), and semiconductor industries.