Sagetech compact transponder for UAS certified by U.S. Department of Defense

HOOD RIVER, Ore., 8 Feb. 2014. Officials at the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) International Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System, Identification Friend or Foe, Mark XII/Mark XIIA, Systems (AIMS) Program Office (AIMS PO) at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., in collaboration with the U.S. Navy, awarded AIMS Mark XA certification to the Sagetech XPC-TR-50 Mode C transponder from Sagetech in Hood River, Ore.

Personnel at the AIMS PO and Navy performed intensive testing of the Sagetech XPC-TR-50 before granting AIMS certification. The Sagetech XPC-TR-50 is “the smallest, lightest transponder ever to receive this certification,” company officials say. The transponder is compact and lightweight enough to be used on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAS).

AIMS certification assures that a particular transponder complies with necessary military performance standards and interoperability requirements. The certification streamlines integration of transponders in aircraft operating in military airspace. Transponders facilitate air traffic control surveillance, and their equipage often is required.

"This certification paves the way for military use of Sagetech's transponders, particularly in airspace where air traffic controllers need to de-conflict traffic, including tiny drones," says Kelvin Scribner, founder/president of Sagetech. "The AIMS certification is an important milestone for our customers. It makes use of our transponders that much easier."

Sagetech transponders are small enough to be carried by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as light as 10 pounds, making them visible to radars and enabling controllers to provide traffic separation services.

Both Sagetech and the unmanned aircraft industry as a whole are growing and maturing, transitioning to more formal systems that employ widely recognized standards. Sagetech is also expanding to apply competencies developed for unmanned aircraft to manned aviation, most notably via ultra-miniaturization of avionics, officials say.

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