European governments endorse UAV airspace integration project
During a meeting of national armament directors today at the Paris Air Show, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden put the European Defence Agency (EDA) in charge of launching the (MID-air Collision Avoidance System) MIDCAS programme. This programme will enable UAVs to fly in global airspace alongside other aircraft.
The MIDCAS programme will be allocated a Eur 50 million budget over 48 months. It will bring together 14 manufacturers and research centres from its five contributing nations, including Sagem Defence & Security and Thales Airborne Systems. Sweden was entrusted with the project leadership and Saab Aerosystems with the coordination of subcontractors.
Today, UAVs cannot operate outside restricted and provisional areas, which limits their use for military, civil and security applications. The MIDCAS programme aims at demonstrating that UAVs can fly safely in undivided airspace thanks to technological solutions like the 'sense and avoid' system. This enables UAVs to avoid potential collisions and respond with appropriate manoeuvres. It is an automated transposition of the 'see and avoid' procedure used by pilots to UAVs.
MIDCAS will be developed in close collaboration with the relevant European authorities, including the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL), the European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE) and the European Agency for Air Safety (EASA). It will also be coordinated with the US, with organisations such as the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
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