The U.S. Air Force awarded a $12.8 million deal to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. for work on sensor systems that go aboard the remotely operated Reaper aircraft.

The contract covers work to improve the Reaper’s targeting capability using the manufacturer’s Lynx synthetic aperture radar.

The Pentagon announcement said that the Air Force was seeking “a more streamlined approach to targeting and quicker decision making by the crew.”

Lynx is a part of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ business that gets relatively limited media coverage. GA-ASI’s Predator family of aircraft gets far more publicity. According to the manufacturer, the Lynx synthetic aperture radar can deliver photographic-quality images through clouds, rain, dust, smoke and fog. It can deliver images in daylight or in total darkness.

Work on the recently awarded contract will be done in Poway and is expected to run through early 2016.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio awarded the deal.

— SDBJ Staff Report