The European Defence Agency (EDA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) agreed to kick-off on 9 April 2015 a new project in accordance with their demonstration roadmap to support the development of governmental, institutional and commercial services provided by Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) flying in non-segregated airspace.
The DeSIRE II demonstration is expected to run for 18 months with a total budget of €2,6 million. An industrial consortium led by Telespazio, one of the world’s leading company in space applications and end-to-end satellite communications services, will act as prime contractor and system integrator. The main results and recommendations coming out of the project will be disseminated to support European standardisation and regulatory activities, especially for the definition of future satellite-based command & control datalinks.
During DeSIRE II, a Piaggio Aero P.1HH HammerHead will be used as a flying testbed for the development, integration and testing of a set of capabilities designed to allow safe RPAS operation in civilian airspace in support of missions such as environment monitoring, maritime surveillance or crisis management. The joint EDA-ESA project will also aim at characterising Satcom command and control datalinks in different frequency bands through simulation, emulation and flight demonstration campaigns. Meanwhile, DeSIRE II will be also be supported by end users (Italian Coast Guard, Italian Civil Protection Department, Guardia di Finanza, European Fisheries Control Agency, Ceren and Armasuisse) who will consolidate their operational and regulatory requirements to operate RPAS in non-segregated airspace.
This new project is a follow-on to the first DeSIRE demonstration, an EDA-ESA project led by Spanish company Indra which ran from 2011 to 2013. It culminated with a series of successful test flights demonstrating the ability of a RPAS using a satellite link to safely share the sky with other airspace users.
Out of the €2,6 million project budget, €1,2 million will be invested by ESA, €600.000 by the EDA on its operational budget and €800.000 by the industrial consortium composed of Telespazio, e-GEOS, Selex ES, Piaggio Aero, ViaSat, Skyguide and Ædel Aerospace GmbH.