The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin testing and evaluating small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) this month near Lawton, Oklahoma, under a federal and state initiative to study UAS applications for emergency response. The DHS is also considering the use of small UAS by its constituent organizations: the Coast Guard and the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agency.
Unmanned aerial vehicle
U.S. senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced the formation of the Senate Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Caucus on September 27.
EADS Cassidian reports positive results from a third flight-test campaign conducted recently from Goose Bay, Canada, with the second prototype Barracuda UAV. Five flights during June and July each lasted up to one hour and proved various new mission modes, including autonomous 4-D navigation and cooperative flying with a second UAV. Unlike the previous two campaigns in 2009 and 2010, the latest flights were funded entirely by the company.
The AOPA Foundation’s Air Safety Institute (ASI) released a new interactive online course focused on unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace System. Topics include what unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are and how they operate; their effect on general aviation; how manned and unmanned aircraft can safely share the airspace; and how UASs are operating in the NAS. It was developed in collaboration with the Department of Defense.
While the Iranian capture of the Sentinel caught public attention, it also allowed researchers to show that spoofing technology has been, and continues to be, closely investigated by a number of military and civilian facilities in the United States.
Stakeholders in the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry are coming to accept that introducing UASs into the national airspace system (NAS) will occur gradually, and that a September 2015 deadline for “safe integration” established by Congress is more a waypoint than a destination.
Israel’s Elbit Systems announced a multimillion-dollar contract to supply its Hermes 450 and 900 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to a “Latin American customer.” The buyer was identified in press reports as Colombia.
Northrop Grumman is marketing an unmanned aircraft that could be a low-cost alternative for training the operators of its own MQ-5B Hunter and the Predator and Reaper UAVs made by General Atomics.
FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta offered a glimpse into the agency’s plans for integrating unmanned aerial vehicles into U.S. domestic airspace during the August 7 Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International in Las Vegas, but details about precisely how the FAA plans to make the integration of UAVs into domestic airspace work left some skeptics scratching their heads.
Industry and government executives involved in the development and regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) offered airline pilots assurances that air vehicles piloted from the ground will be introduced safely and incrementally to the U.S. national airspace system (NAS). “We’re doing this in an organized and structured fashion,” said Richard Prosek, manager of flight technologies and procedures in the FAA’s UAS Integration Office.