uAvionix RT-2087/ZPX Transponder to Support DOT TRUAS Initiative | Aero-News Network
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uAvionix RT-2087/ZPX Transponder to Support DOT TRUAS Initiative

Supplying Resupply

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems program office has awarded SURVICE Engineering a production contract by which the Belcamp, Maryland-based engineering concern will produce nearly two hundred sophisticated multi-rotor drones known in military argot as Tactical Resupply Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TRUAS).

Subject drones will be utilized by the Marine Corps to equip forward-deployed U.S. warfighters.  

The contract was awarded following SURVICE Engineering’s TRUAS prototype taking first-place in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps 2020 Tactical Resupply Unmanned Aircraft System fly-off competition.

For purpose of satisfying the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) TRUAS Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Transponder and ADS-B requirements for UAS operating both in the battlefield and in civilian airspace, SURVICE Engineering’s drones will be equipped with uAvionix’s AIMS-certified RT-2087/ZPX Combat ID and Air Traffic Control surveillance system.

uAvionix president Christian Ramsey stated: “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.”

Mr. Ramsey added: “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.”

To maintain useful ranges and payloads, small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) require SWaP avionics. In U.S. military use, such systems must conform to additional DOT requirements which ensure the devices can be properly identified for airspace deconfliction and battlefield situational awareness.  In particular, Combat sUASs are required to be equipped with transponders by which service personnel may differentiate friendly and enemy aircraft.

Commonly known as Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), the aforementioned capability is predicated upon encrypted transmissions between ground-based interrogating devices and aircraft in flight.

Historically, IFF transponders have been large, heavy contraptions, suitable only for larger aircraft. By dint of the March 2021 AIMS certification of uAvionix’s RT-2087/ZPX, U.S. military sUAS may now be equipped with fully-functional IFF micro transponders and associated crypto units measurable in centimeters and grams instead of inches and pounds.

Capable of carrying more than one-hundred-pounds over distances ranging from three to eight nautical-miles, SURVICE Engineering’s TRUAS will support the delivery of critical supplies to forward-deployed U.S. military units. By virtue of the best-in-class SWaP of its inbuilt uAvionix’s RT-2087/ZPX Combat ID and Air Traffic Control surveillance system, SURVICE Engineering’s TRUAS stands to fare better under combat conditions than previous sUAS models—thereby ensuring U.S. warfighters are more quickly and reliably resupplied than their adversaries.

The uAvionix line of ZPX transponder products, such as the RT-2087/ZPX, enable secure Mode 5 platform identification for UAS. uAvionix ZPX transponders feature built-in crypto emulators which support development and testing without the security burdens imposed by using actual cryptos. What’s more, to comply with civil requirements and simplify equipment requirements for military aircraft transiting civil airspace, ZPX transponders possess Mode S/1090ES ADS-B functionality.



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