The European Defence Agency (EDA) has selected an Astrium and EADS Defence & Security (DS) consortium to lead a six-month study to demonstrate that by using satellite communications it is feasible to integrate UAVs into civil airspace. DS has more than 30 years of expertise in UAVs, and Astrium, Europe’s largest space company, will determine how and what satellite-based services are needed to operate the UAVs safely in civil airspace.
The consortium comprises 11 members, including QinetiQ and ISDEFE as well as IABG, and combines the industrial capabilities of the leading specialists in UAVs, space-based telecommunications and air traffic management in France, the UK, Spain and Germany.
As part of the six-month feasibility study, the consortium will meet key European civil and military stakeholders. The purpose of these meetings will be to receive their endorsements on safety and regulatory policy, and on future applications. On completion of the study, EDA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are expected to jointly fund a demonstration programme.
Eric Béranger, CEO Astrium Services, stated, “All teams involved are proud to be selected by the European Defence Agency in competition against top companies in this sector. This shows that our ability to develop synergies between civil, security and military applications is increasingly recognised. For Astrium Services this is an opportunity to develop our activities in the expanding UAV market.”
He continued, “Enabling the integration of UAVs into civil airspace fits within the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the European Union. The Astrium and DS teams are combining their expertise for EDA and ESA, to help define with the European authorities what legislation will be required to assist in the development of UAV based innovative applications.”