Saab to lead UAS 'sense and avoid' project

The five nations of the European Defence Agency have given the go-ahead to develop a mid-air collision avoidance system for unmanned aircraft. The announcement was made at the Paris Air Show, when EDA signed a contract valued at around 50 million euros with a 13-member industry consortium led by Saab.

The MIDCAS consortium consists of European aerospace businesses from the five contributing member states: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden, which is appointed as lead nation.

Before unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can be allowed to fly among other aircraft in so called non-segregated airspace, there is a need for a system that can see and avoid any potential collision threats. The European MIDCAS project aims at contributing to find such a solution. It has two overall objectives:
> To demonstrate technology for a sense and avoid system for unmanned aircraft systems that can fulfil the requirements for traffic separation and mid-air collision avoidance in non segregated airspace.
> To cooperate with European organisations in providing the technical background needed to establish a sense and avoid standard.

The intention is to demonstrate suitable technology by actually flying a UAS in non-segregated air space at the end of the project. The process of approval together with a national Civil Aviation Authority for such a flight will be one of the main contributions to the standardisation work.

As coordinator for the consortium, Saab will be responsible for project management, overall coordination, and avoid technology.

The other members are:
Alenia Aeronautica S.p.A
Diehl BGT Defence GmbH & Co. KG
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft
EADS Deutschland GmbH
ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH
Galileo Avionica S.p.A
Indra Sistemas S.A
Italian Aerospace Research Centre CIRAS.c.p.A
Sagem (Safran Group)
Selex Communications S.p.A
Selex Sistemi Integrati S.p.A
Thales Systèmes Aéroportés S.A.

Alexander Weis, chief executive of the European Defence Agency, said development of a sense and avoid system is key for future military UAS-based capabilities and a key technology for the European defence technological and industrial base. "With this technology, Europe will become world leading in this area", he commented.

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