General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. said that it has successfully tested an early prototype of a sense-and-avoid radar system, suitable for unmanned aircraft.

The Poway-based aircraft builder said in a Feb. 22 statement that the first test occurred Oct. 17, off the coast of San Diego and in Borrego Springs.

Initially, GA is testing the electronics in a manned Twin Otter aircraft. The radar was able to detect a second aircraft, a King Air, when it encroached on the Twin Otter’s airspace, GA-ASI said.

Data from the tests will be used for further software development, which in turn will lead to more manned flight tests, GA-ASI said.

The radar is called Due Regard. Privately held GA-ASI is funding its own research on the system.

Such a radar will eventually give aircraft such as GA-ASI’s unmanned Predator the capacity to operate routinely in domestic and international airspace, said Linden Blue, president of GA-ASI’s Reconnaissance Systems Group, in a prepared statement.

GA-ASI said it tentatively plans to introduce the electronics to customers in 2015.

— Brad Graves