UAVs may be able to fly in national airspace thanks to new system

By Skyler Frink
UAV s have been unable to fly in national airspace due to the danger of collisions that an unmanned vehicle creates. A UAV has no pilot and thus has difficulty avoiding other aircraft that may be in the same area. This has been difficult for the Army, which needs to be able to train UAV operators. A new system, the ground based sense and avoid system (GBSAA), may be fixing this problem in the next few years.

To date, UAVs are not allowed to fly in national airspace unless they are tailed by a manned aircraft or watched by a trained observer who must remain a certain distance from the UAV at all times. UAVs are also not allowed to be flown at night, which severely limits the training scenarios for UAV operators in national airspace.

The GBSAA uses a 3D radar system and algorithms to determine if there is danger in an area, whether a collision is possible, and how to avoid any possible collisions.

The system was recently tested, with intruder aircraft entering the airspace UAVs were operating in. So far all tests have been successful, and the system is on schedule to deploy by March of 2014.

When the system is released it will allow the Army to train new UAV operators and keep veteran UAV operators in top-top shape. The system will also save money, allowing UAV operators to train without having an observer or chase aircraft present.

This system could also allow UAVs to be flown for other purposes in national airspace.

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The Mil & Aero Bloggers

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Ernesto Burden is the publisher of PennWell’s Aerospace & Defense Media Group, including Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence and Avionics Europe.  He’s a father of four, a runner, and an avid digital media enthusiast with a deep background in the intersection of media publishing, digital technology, and social media. He can be reached at ernestob@pennwell.com and on Twitter @aero_ernesto.

Courtney E. Howard, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at Courtney@Pennwell.com, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Mil & Aero Magazine

December 2013
Volume 24, Issue 12
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