SESAR examines UAS airspace integration

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Published: April 27, 2012

Europe’s SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) Joint Undertaking has begun a study into the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into non-segregated airspace in a SESAR air traffic management scenario.

The study will help define the capabilities and equipment that UAS users will need to operate safely and efficiently in a SESAR environment.  It will enable the SESAR JU to understand, for example, how UAS will be able to implement new flight separation modes. The study will also examine how the shift from airspace-based operations to trajectory-based operations will influence UAS operations.

SESAR believes that some of its new concepts are already candidates for furthering the development of unmanned flight operations. SESAR advances in remote control tower technologies and operation, for example, could support the UAS community in the development of “detect and avoid” concepts.

The deployment of new SESAR systems, procedures, technologies and standards requires a high degree of synchronization among all stakeholders, including the rapidly expanding UAS community. Military use of UAS has grown exponentially in Europe over the past few years, but this trend has so far not been mirrored in the civil sector, despite significant potential benefits offered by a wide range of applications.

As a result, the European Commission last year launched its 2011 UAS initiative aimed at creating a regulatory framework that will help accelerate development of their civilian use. The SESAR study is due to be completed in the autumn.

The study, known as ICONUS, will be carried out by the ATM FUSION Consortium of Associate Partners to the SJU. The Consortium is led by France’s ONERA, and includes AVTECH (Sweden); CIRA and Deep Blue (Italy); ENAC (France) and INTA (Spain).

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