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Group 4-5 UAS integration of terminal area sensors & operations in the terminal area for Airborne Sense and Avoid


OBJECTIVE: Develop technology to utilize and integrate terminal area ground based sensors for sense and avoid operation of a UAS in a terminal area. DESCRIPTION: Terminal Area Operations are intended to facilitate UAS operations in a confined volume of airspace near a regional terminal area or near a restricted airspace. To ensure safe UAS operations in the terminal environment, one concept utilizes ground-based observers or sensor technology capable of scanning beyond the edges of the confined operational airspace volume. The observers or sensors alert the UAS pilot/operator of approaching traffic so actions may be taken to avoid potential collisions with other traffic. Alone or in conjunction with participating air traffic controller (ATC), UAS must effectively conduct their training and other missions without impacting the safety of other manned aircraft and the controller"s workload. Terminal area UAS operations are conducted in a volume of airspace associated with an operating airfield, and may be conducted in Class C, D, G, or E airspace. Three phases of flight are associated with terminal area operations: departure, rectangular/overhead pattern work, and arrival/landing. For Group 4-5 UAS, terminal area operations require a runway environment for takeoffs and landings. The terminal area can be a complex and challenging environment. Through continual monitoring of air traffic (cooperative and non-cooperative) and the appropriate separation/collision avoidance procedures, SAA technologies provide enhanced safety of flight for both manned and unmanned systems. DoD UAS pilots/operators will apply the appropriate separation minima when transiting through a terminal area to ensure safe separation/collision avoidance. UA separation criteria will be no less than the appropriate separation minima as defined in FAA JO 7110.65. If avoidance action is required, pilot/operator will make an immediate collision avoidance maneuver and relay deviation to the appropriate controlling agency. Once the UA is clear of the conflict, the pilot/operator will notify/coordinate with the controlling agency and continue normal operations. Both vertical and lateral maneuvers may be accomplished to avoid traffic. In order to maintain safe separation, air traffic must be appropriately tracked as specified in the Department of Defense Unmanned Aircraft System Airspace Integration Plan (see references). Many types of sensors are being evaluated for Airborne Based Sense And Avoid (ABSAA) and Ground Based Sense And Avoid (GBSAA). The ABSAA consists of ownship EO and Radar sensors along with detection and tracking capabilities under development. The GBSAA consists of typical ATC radar systems that will provide track data. While moving into a terminal area, the number of intruders will likely be increasing and the distance between these intruders and the ownship will be decreasing, resulting in a higher risk environment. There are other challenges for false alarms generated by the ABSAA EO component such as moving objects and other ground clutter due to EO phenomenology. Similarly, the ABSAA radar system does not provide a perfect air picture under all operating conditions. The primary objective of this effort is to demonstrate a significant improvement in tracking of airborne traffic through the fusion of the ABSAA and GBSAA systems as compared to the capability of the individual systems. Capabilities of the ongoing development of the ABSAA systems, specifically the EO and Radar sensor and tracking capabilities will be provided as Government Furnished Data. Similarly, typical GBSAA performance characteristics will be provided. At a minimum, true target track and false alarm characteristics will be provided to enable modeling of existing capabilities. PHASE I: Identify proposed solutions to utilize the combination of the Ground Based Sense And Avoid (GBSAA) system with Air Borne Sense And Avoid (ABSAA) track data for use by a UAS in terminal areas. Establish feasibility of proposed solutions through simulation, analysis, and appropriate scientific means. Quantify the performance against operating conditions (i.e., air space density). PHASE II: Refine the most promising Phase I solution(s) towards an operationally relevant implementation involving the use of real versus simulated government furnished data. Identify and potentially resolve critical issues for fielding new fused solutions integrating ground and airborne sensors. PHASE III: Develop Phase 2 solution(s) to be compatible with current or planned military and commercial collision avoidance systems. Implement a product capable of integration with at least one current UAS. REFERENCES: 1. Department of Defense Unmanned Aircraft System Airspace Integration Plan, Version 2.0, 9 October 2010. 2. Joint Concept of Operations for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airspace Integration, May 2011. 3. Department of Defense Terminal Area Airspace Access Profile Recommended Practices Guide, Version 0.5, 23 March 12.
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