Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 2018

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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10   August/September 2018 unmanned systems inside General Atomics MQ-9B flew from Grand Forks, North Dakota to the Farnborough Airshow with 16 hours of fuel to spare. WHY NOW? The method behind all this madness is a decision by The Bigs that the ma- jor global civil aviation authorities are finally serious about approving large UAS commercial f light in controlled airspace. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FA A) convened a UAS in Controlled Airspace Aviation R u le m a k i ng C om m i t t e e (A RC ) last fall, the British Civil Aviation Authority approved the methodol- ogy for beyond line of sight (BLOS) operation for the MQ -9 f light to RAF Fairford, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel is putting the Hermes 900 through the paces for eventual type certification. These ad- vancements, combined with a whole host of nearly ready BLOS standards from standards bodies ASTM and RTCA, apparently convinced these Bigs to pull the trigger on serious com- mercial grade large UAS platforms. Why did all three take pains to claim they were "civil certifiable?" Why men- tion it at all if there aren't rules for UAS type certification? I think it's their way of saying they're confident the UAS will pass UAS type certification rules when they come out. Even more impor- tantly, it's an expression of their confi- dence that there will be UAS type cer- tification rules to pass. Having a large aerospace company commit to passing type certification for a production air- craft means a large resource commit- ment. When I was on the Air Staff I spent more than $50 million to have General Atomics' MQ-9/Reaper pass Air Force airworthiness standards and civilian standards are much more exacting—and expensive. What's more, commitment to a civil certifiable UAS means these companies think there is enough of a commercial UAS market to manufacture aircraft that may need THE METHOD BEHIND ALL THIS MADNESS IS A DECISION BY THE BIGS THAT THE MAJOR GLOBAL CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITIES ARE FINALLY SERIOUS ABOUT APPROVING LARGE UAS COMMERCIAL FLIGHT IN CONTROLLED AIRSPACE. MAJOR GENERAL JAMES O. POSS (RET) is a leading expert on UAS, having targeted the first armed UAS strikes, designed the U.S. Air Force's remote split operations system for UAS control, and designed the Distributed Common Ground Station for UAS intelligence analysis. General Poss was the Executive Director of the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Center of Excellence Team. He is CEO of ISR Ideas—an intelligence, unmanned systems and cyber warfare consulting company with decades of intelligence community experience, coupled with insider FAA knowledge. General Overview by James Poss, Maj Gen (RET) USAF Photo courtesy of General Atomics.

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