The European Defence Agency (EDA) and the European Commission (EC) organise a first high-level European Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) on 1 July 2010 in Brussels.
The conference marks a cornerstone in the efforts undertaken by the European Defence Agency and the European Commission in the field of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. As the first European joint civil/defence initiative in the field, it widely opens the path to sustainable technological innovation and offers a bridge into a future European UAS market. For European decision-makers, it creates an important opportunity to address the subject within a wider community, outlining its benefits for the European citizens and the shared approach among all end user communities.
EDA and the EC have joined forces in this civil-military approach to addressing the challenges which hinder broad usage of UAS and aim, through this conference, to:
- increase public awareness on the European industry base in the UAS sector;
- increase public awareness about the significant potential of UAS applications for the benefit of the citizens as well as for their governments;
- present the potentialities offered by UAS in the protection of our planet environment and resources;
- raise political awareness to overcome current obstacles in Europe to the use of UAS.
The conference will contribute to develop a common European approach to address the required research and development activities, establish a European regulatory framework, and ultimately enable state as well as civil end-user the safe and secure operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Europe.
UAS are a key element for present and future Common Security and Defence Policy operations. Furthermore, it is estimated that UAS will become increasingly important for civilian end-user communities – for example borders control, maritime safety and environmental monitoring. Despite this growing civil/security/defence need, a true European UAS market has not materialised yet.
Since its tasking by the Ministerial Steering Board in May 2007, the European Defence Agency has been working on the Integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the European Airspace. EDA has already taken several initiatives covering all relevant areas linked to UAS Air Traffic Insertion, ranging from technology development, rules and regulations support to standardisation and demonstration.
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The MIDCAS Sense & Avoid project is a good example of an EDA technology/standardisation demonstrator initiative, providing the key technology for the safe and secure integration of UAS. In the area of rules and regulations progress is being made in partnership with Eurocontrol and also the needed Airworthiness work on UAS is being covered in the Military Airworthiness Authorities (MAWA) Forum. Furthermore EDA is preparing a harmonised European approach towards the World Radio Conference 2012 with a study on “Military Frequency Spectrum Allocations Required for the Insertion into the General Air Traffic” of UAS (SIGAT) and is coordinating with ESA on Command & Control/Air Traffic Control issues.