Responding to a lawsuit filed by a digital rights advocacy organization, the FAA has identified the public and private entities currently authorized to operate UAVs in U.S. domestic airspace. On April 19 the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foun
UAVs and drones
U.S. Army AH-64D Block III helicopter crews exercised directional control of the MQ-1C Grey Eagle unmanned aircraft system (UAS) during the recently completed initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) of the upgraded Apache. The Army will decide whether to approve full-rate production of the Block III in July, including production of the mast-mounted UAS tactical datalink assembly (UTA) developed to control the Grey Eagle.
With funding now assured under the FY 2012 Reauthorization and Reform Act, the FAA’s four-year UAV project is getting under way. But the overarching goal of achieving access to the NAS is going to require a good deal of effort, particularly on the regulatory side. It looks fairly straightforward, but in fact it can get complex and there’s a distinct possibility that some participants won’t make it by the Sept. 30, 2015 deadline.
The FAA is looking for a few good sites to test unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), signaling that momentum is building toward merging manned and unmanned aircraft in unrestricted airspace.
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) could soon be coming to civil airspace near you, and the FAA wants to know what you think. The safety considerations of mixing piloted aircraft in NextGen airspace with those flown by people on the ground or even totally by computer are serious concerns for most aviators.
U.S. Air Force leadership has defended the decision to halt acquisition and current operations of the Global Hawk Block 30 UAV, in favor of retaining the manned Lockheed Martin U-2 reconnaissance aircraft.
The U.S. military has awarded contracts for UAVs to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) services potentially worth nearly $1.5 billion. The main beneficiary appears to be AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which proposed the Australian-built Aerosonde small unmanned aircraft system.
An Anglo-French defense summit in Paris last week confirmed that the two governments will sign a risk-reduction contract soon with BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation for the Telemos Medium Altitude Long-Endurance (Male) UAV. “We look forward to taking further decisions jointly in the light of the outcomes of this risk-reduction phase to ensure that our respective sovereign requirements will be met in a cost-effective manner,” the governments added.
The Hermes 450 UAV designed by Israel’s Elbit Systems has been acquired as a surveillance platform by at least 10 countries, including Singapore, but only the UK has requested major changes.