Tech

July 3, 2012

Army radar to allow UAS to fly in National Air Space

Tags:
by C. Todd Lopez
Army News Service

Two unmanned aircraft system operators fly a UAS during one of the synthetic flight vignettes using replicated airspace and environment from Cherry Point, N.C. On the left is an Aircraft Operator and on the right is the Ground Based Sense and Avoid System Operator.

By March 2014, the MQ-1C Gray Eagle, an Army unmanned aerial system, or UAS, will be able to train in the same airspace as the Boeing 747, with the help of the Army-developed Ground Based Sense and Avoid system.

The Army recently concluded a two-week demonstration of the Ground Based Sense and Avoid system, or GBSAA, at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. During the demonstration, the Army put the system through multiple training “vignettes” that validated both the design and functionality of the system.

“We are ready to begin the certification process in order to be fielding in March 2014, for the Gray Eagle locations,” said Viva Austin, product director for the Army’s Unmanned Systems Airspace Integration.

The five locations for Gray Eagle basing and training include Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Stewart, Ga.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; and Fort Bragg, N.C. It’s expected the first system will field in March 2014 at Fort Hood. About three months later, the system should field to Fort Riley. All five sites should be equipped with the GBSAA system by 2015, officials said.

The GBSAA is a radar and warning system designed to allow soldiers to fly unmanned aerial systems, like the Gray Eagle, inside the National Air Space, while still meeting Federal Aviation Administration regulations. The system monitors location and altitude of the UAS and other aircraft, detects possible collisions, and makes recommendations to UAS operators on how to avoid those collisions.

As unmanned aerial systems and the soldiers who fly them return home from theater, the Army needs a way to keep those UAS operators trained for the next battle, and they need to do that training inside the United States and inside the National Air Space, or NAS.

Evaluators conduct one of the vignettes that showcased the next upgrade to the Army’s maneuver algorithms. Two live Shadows are being flown toward each other; one with the Ground Based Sense and Avoid System system and one without.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires a pilot be able to “see and avoid” other aircraft flying in the same airspace. But a UAS has no pilot onboard. The Army can get around that by meeting other requirements, however. The Army can fly a UAS in the NAS with a chase aircraft following the UAS, for instance. It is also possible to fly in the NAS if a trained observer is watching the UAS. But the observer must be within one mile and 3,000 feet of the vehicle.

Additionally, the Army can’t fly the UAS in NAS at night.

The GBSAA was developed as an “alternate means of compliance” for the FAA’s “see and avoid” requirement. The system senses other traffic in the area, using a 3D radar system, and uses algorithms to determine if there is danger of collision and how to avoid that danger. That information is provided to the UAS operator.

When the FAA approves the system for use, the Army will be able to train UAS pilots any time of day.

“It’s a significant impact [on training],” said Austin. “It does two things. One is it allows us to not need to put chase planes out to follow the aircraft over. It allows us to not have ground observers standing out there, trying to separate traffic. And it allows us to fly through the night hours, it gives us 24-hour operations, GBSAA allows that and opens it up.”

The recent demonstration of the GBSAA involved seven vignettes at Dugway Proving Ground, involving both live and synthetic UAVs, as well as synthetic “intruders.”

The Ground Based Sense and Avoid System system alerted the Ground Based Sense and Avoid System Operator at the appropriate time and provided a recommended maneuver which was safely used to avoid the other aircraft. The two aircraft maintained separation as expected and no anomalies occurred. The screen shown is a “concept demo” and was one of the concept display screens used to test the system.

The first three vignettes used real UAS. In vignettes 1 and 2, a real Hunter UAS flew at Dougway against synthetic “intruders” in their airspace. The difference between the two vignettes was the version of the GBSAA used. In both scenarios, the system performed without endangering the mission, but on the second run, the Army Phase 2 Block 0 system’s improved algorithms indicated an earlier, safer departure time between the two intruders.

Vignette 3 pitted two live Shadow UAS against each other. One of the Shadows served as the intruder aircraft, the other was guided by the GBSAA. The operator of that aircraft was warned at an appropriate time and was able to follow the recommended maneuver to avoid the other aircraft.

The next three vignettes showed the adaptability of the Phase 2 Block 0 algorithms. They were flown using synthetic UAS, through the X-Plane system. Each of the three vignettes used replicated airspace over different military installations, including Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, N.C.; Fort Stewart, Ga.; and Fort Drum, N.Y.

Finally, in vignette 7, the GBSAA system was demonstrated again using a synthetic UAS, but was flown against live aviation traffic data around nearby Salt Lake City, and also against recorded air traffic data from Boston’s Logan Airport.

“In both cases we were extremely successful and (it) was even more than we had hoped for,” Austin said.

Austin said it was difficult to get the GBSAA system into a tough situation that it couldn’t handle.

“The hardest part of that was actually trying to get into a situation where the maneuver algorithm was really tested, getting into a red condition,” Austin said. “Big sky theory kind of held true, we almost felt like we were trying to chase people down at that point because air traffic control keeps people separated so well, it was kind of hard to put yourself in a really stressing situation and test those algorithms out really well. It was very safe and we demonstrated that the system and the test bed was really successful.”

Austin did say one thing learned about the GBSAA is that the algorithm used to safely move UAS through airspace does not always do things conventionally, as pilots would do them. Austin said that they will try to work more standard ways into the system, if they can do so without breaking the algorithm.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines October 29, 2014

News: Unmanned rocket explodes just six seconds after taking off - A NASA rocket due to be visible across the East Coast on its way to the International Space Station has blown up on the Launchpad. IG: Former chief of wounded warrior office broke law, DOD regs - The Defense Department inspector general has recommended “corrective action”...
 
 

News Briefs October 29, 2014

F-35C makes first landing at Virginia Beach Navy base The Navy says an operational F-35C joint strike fighter has landed at Naval Air Station Oceana for the first time. Naval Air Station Oceana is the Navy’s master jet base on the East Coast. The Navy says the plane came to the Virginia Beach base Oct....
 
 

Time to turn to American technology for space launch

For the first time since the Cold War, the United States has deployed armored reinforcements to Europe. To counter Russia’s aggression, several hundred troops and 20 tanks are now in the Baltic. Yet the U.S. military is still injecting millions into the Russian military industrial complex. In late August, the United Launch Alliance – the...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Joe Davila

Boeing, Air Force demonstrate Minuteman III readiness in flight test

Air Force photograph by Joe Davila Boeing supported the launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Sept. 23, 2014. Boeing supported the U.S. Air Force’s succ...
 
 

Pentagon going to court for refusing to release Sikorsky data

PETALUMA, Calif. – The Pentagon is refusing to release any data on any prime contractors participating in the 25-year-old Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program. The American Small Business League launched a program in 2010 to expose the fraud and abuse against small businesses the CSPTP had allowed. As a test the ASBL requested the most...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph

Raytheon Griffin C flight tests demonstrate in-flight retargeting capability

Northrop Grumman photograph Northrop Grumman has received a contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for low-rate initial production of the AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR). G/ATOR is the first ground-based multi-mi...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>