Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) ATM Integration Operational Concept
The UAS air traffic management (ATM) operational concept aims to describe the operational ATM environment in which manned and unmanned aircraft must co-exist safely, including the airspace below 500ft. The planning horizon is up to and beyond 2025. The baseline against which the significance of the changes proposed in the operational concept may be measured is the present European ATM environment in 2018.
While the operational concept is visionary and even challenging, many of the current practices and processes will continue to exist through the planning horizon. In this sense, this operational concept document should be seen as evolutionary.
A key point to note is that the operational concept is, to the greatest extent possible, independent of technology; that is, it recognises that within a planning horizon of more than ten years, much of the technology that exists or is in development today may change or may cease to exist and be replaced by new, as yet unknown, technologies.
An operational concept is a statement of “what” is envisaged. It asks and answers the question of what outcomes are required for UAS integration into the ATM system of the future. It is a vision statement. It is not a technical manual or blueprint; nor does it specify “how” things will be enabled; that lies in lower documents in the hierarchy, which may include concepts of operation or use, technical standards and strategic plans.