Airspace Integration Alternatives for Unmanned Aircraft

February 2010
Topics: Unmanned Systems, Civil Aviation Security, Modeling and Simulation
Andrew R. Lacher, The MITRE Corporation
Dr. Andrew D. Zeitlin, The MITRE Corporation
David R. Maroney, The MITRE Corporation
Kelly Markin, The MITRE Corporation
Duane Ludwig, The MITRE Corporation
Joe Boyd, The MITRE Corporation
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The routine integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into civil airspace presents many technical, operational, and policy challenges. Foremost among these are 1) the lack of an onboard capability to see and avoid other aircraft; and 2) coping mechanisms for dealing with vulnerabilities of the UAS command and control link. This paper discusses alterative integration approaches that ensure risks are mitigated, overall system safety is not degraded, and existing flows of manned aircraft are undisrupted. Specific examples associated with small UAS, ground-based sense and avoid approaches, and UAS flying in international oceanic airspace are discussed. Trade-offs among these alternatives are explored in terms of implementation timeframes, development risks, and implications for various stakeholders.

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