Thales announced that it has reached the end of a decisive year-long European technical design study, called SIGAT - (Study on military frequency spectrum allocations for the Insertion into General Air Traffic of UAS).
Kicking off in early 2009, SIGAT was aimed at defining and promoting a common European position on the appropriate command and control radio frequencies for future military UAS integration into the General Air Traffic within the framework of the next world Radio Communication Conference (2012).
SIGAT identified four possible options including frequency spectrum needs with associated levels of difficulty, performance and timeframe. Each of these four paths would enable military UAS to integrate civil airspaces while providing appropriate safety to other air traffic.
This finding represents a major outcome for European Defence Ministries as it widens the number of potential solutions and provides the relevant regulatory and technical elements to enable a balanced choice to be made between optimal cost,result and timeframe solutions for military UAS integration.
“One of the major issues at the heart of UAS development today, is the integration of these vehicles into civil airspace. We need to ensure proper segregation of existing air traffic and maintain a high level of safety for all airspace users to the standards of international civil aviation, commented Pierre-Eric Pommellet, Thales, Senior Vice President in charge of defence mission systems. Thales provides solutions to meet these challenges through the development of sense & avoid anti-collision systems for UAS which are remotely piloted through a radio-frequency data-link”, he continued.
Thales successfully led a consortium of 23 European companies1 representing nine countries in order to carry out the SIGAT study for the European Defence Agency.
In its comprehensive approach to meet the UAV system requirements of European forces, Thales is a driving force in the emergence of collaborative projects, such as WIMAAS (Wide Maritime Area Airborne Surveillance) intended to facilitate the exchange and fusion of data between passive and active assets.
Thales is also involved in the numerous research programmes around the insertion of UAVs into civil airspace like ASTRAEA (UK); MIDCAS (Europe) - sense & avoid. Thales is currently leading the Technical Design Study D2AD - the design and demonstration of an automatic take-off, landing and deck landing system for rotorcraft UAVs, set to be a vital component of future tactical UAV programmes.