Key ATM/ANS players came together on 25 October to discuss how to accommodate military remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) outside segregated airspace, paving the way for further seamless integration of RPAS alongside manned civil and military aviation.
The military HALE/MALE RPAS accommodation workshop addressed the growing use of RPAS, and focused on large High and Medium Altitude Long Endurance (HALE/MALE) type RPAS operations outside airspace reservation and restriction (ARES). Our aim was to find practical solutions to operate these military RPAS in European controlled airspace.
Around 100 civil and military participants from States, industry, NATO, EASA, EDA and EUROCONTROL came together to:
- discuss the current state of play, military requirements, standards and interlink with the civilians,
- examine national best practices, and
- develop ways to accommodate military RPAS operations across Europe with the currently available tools, including the legal, technical and operational framework.
The workshop underlined the importance of dialogue, collaboration and coordination among all relevant military and civilian stakeholders in the fields of data sharing and exchange of documents. This ensures a common understanding from a total aviation system perspective.
It was recognised that practical RPAS accommodation outside ARES is certainly achievable with a State, EDA and NATO approach regarding airworthiness (certification, mutual recognition for cross-border operations, commonly agreed standards and developed CONOPS). Additional benefits will be gained from a clear understanding of flight intent and flight performance while ensuring safe separation of flights at national level.
Last, but not least, EUROCONTROL offered its support in drafting a Project Plan and facilitating the development of “European best practices for RPAS flight outside ARES” using smart moving safe separation. Once this plan is agreed among the workshop participants, a dedicated Working Group will be established with representatives of all relevant players.