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Tue, Nov 24, 2009

How Do You 'See-And-Avoid' When You're A UAV?

New Concepts Demand New Solutions

While the FAA and its advisory organizations struggle to find cost-effective ways to integrate unmanned aircraft into the see-and-avoid paradigm of the National Airspace System, a parallel effort may be going on in a venue where cost-effectiveness is a much lower priority - the US military.

Fire Scout

Military & Aerospace Electronics reports on its website that the US Office of Naval Research is asking industry to develop a collision-avoidance system which would allow UAVs to detect the presence of other aircraft nearby, even if the other aircraft have no transponders or other special equipment.
First candidates for the system would be the Navy's MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, and the Army's Tier 2 RQ-7 Shadow 200 fixed-wing UAV.
In yet another effort you could call parallel, if you don't like the words duplicate or redundant, the US Air Force has issued what's called a broad agency announcement, looking for technology for its Multi-Vehicle Unmanned Aircraft Systems Sense And Avoid program, which has the same goal of allowing integration of UAVs into the NAS.

RQ-7 Shadow

The irony, of course, is that the programs themselves may one day collide...



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