European standards organisations EUROCAE has published its Technical Work Programme for 2024, outlining key areas of work in the counter-UAS, space traffic management, higher airspace operations and UTM sectors.
“WG-115 Counter-UAS (C-UAS), working with RTCA SC-238, is active on this topic. Sighting of drones in the vicinity of major airports has significantly impacted airport and flight operations. To prevent such disruptions, the airspace around an airport needs to be protected and unauthorised UAS activities need to be detected and reported, at the earliest possible stage, to Air Traffic Control and responsible authorities. Finally, and in accordance with national regulations, neutralisation or disruption of the UAS (either the Unmanned Vehicle, the Command & Control Datalink or the Remote Pilot) could be considered. Regarding the capacity to defeat the UAS, it is essential that any countering measures (e.g. jamming, interception, destruction…) do not impact current operations. As such interoperability must be achieved with existing and near-future communication, navigation and surveillance systems. WG-115 has developed ED-286 “OSED for Counter-UAS in controlled airspace” (published in Q1 2021) introducing the overall capability of a Counter UAS System, including the detection capabilities of unauthorized UAS in a protected area of influence around an airport and address the resulting hazard or threat, in a risk-based balanced manner. In 2023, ED-322 “System Performance and Interoperability Requirements for non-cooperative UAS detection systems” was developed. The next tasks for WG-115 include: – A review of ED-286, taking into account the evolution of understanding of C-UAS operational requirements and emerging system capabilities. – Then, building on the OSED update, developing Interoperability Requirements for Counter-UAS systems. Depending on decisions from regulatory and security authorities, further standards (MASPS or MOPS) could be added to the WG programme of work.
On space traffic management:
“Space Traffic Management (STM) is intended to develop a set of standards and rules to organise safe access to and operations in space, considering the proliferation of space vehicles, satellites, and space debris. EUROCAE currently has no WG developing related standards, but the topic is monitored closely. Today, launches and recovery of rockets are done through the traditional airspace structure, fully segregated by closing airspace with substantial safety buffers, proper integration in the ATM, handed over to STM and re-entry into ATM to land at the spaceport or airport. The EU Space Programme considers the autonomy in launchers and STM a strategical objective, and intends exploring new and competitive solutions for access to space and for STM. Developments in STM will need to work closely with, and ensure integration with, Higher Airspace Operations, and this will require extensive standardisation activity. “
On higher airspace operations:
“Higher Airspace Operations (HAO) refer to operations that take place in airspace above where conventional IFR operations occur. Although the upper and lower vertical limits are not formally defined, this airspace is typically from above FL 660 up to space, or around 100 km. EUROCAE currently has no WG developing related standards, but the topic is followed closely. The variety of operations emerging for this airspace volume is such that some form of management will be needed, but it does not necessarily need to follow the model of ATM below it. Operators may be able to take more of a role in managing their fleets within new ICAO guidelines, making use of innovative services and technologies. It may be possible to adapt existing or emerging ATM concepts to support such operations, for example trajectory-based operations or advanced flexible use of airspace, or it may need an entirely new model such as U-Space / UTM. This will need regional and global harmonisation since higher airspace operations will involve international and even intercontinental trajectories. It is certain that all these emerging activities will, to varying degrees, have an impact on current aviation and on the air navigation system as a whole. Consequently, they must be integrated appropriately to encourage and enable innovative new businesses while maintaining the high levels of safety, regularity, efficiency, and security for all existing airspace users. These considerations highlight several areas where EUROCAE currently has little standardisation activity. Enabling these operations will require the standardisation of new applications for existing technologies, as well as the introduction of new technologies that will need standardisation. The European Commission (DG DEFIS) wants to strengthen Europe as global actor, with a tailored space strategy to foster innovation and entrepreneurship and to encourage applications as well as to reinforce autonomy and security. This includes supporting rocket launches from European sites in such a way that it can be managed safely and economically, in coordination with the ATM environment, as well as by creating a regulatory framework for orbital and sub-orbital activities that integrates with other users of the Higher Airspace. All this is foreseen as performance-based regulation, supported by standards. Industry and operators are calling already today for more harmonisation and standardisation to develop quick and innovative operations in a predictable environment worldwide.
On advanced air mobility and UTM:
The Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) domain, and its subset of Urban Air Mobility (UAM), encompasses emerging concepts such as piloted, unmanned or uncrewed aircraft systems, namely UAS, RPAS, and VTOL, for which a set of standards are needed to support their safe integration in the airspace. It also covers related topics, like UAS Traffic Management (UTM or U-space in Europe) and ground infrastructure, that are necessary for global integration in the operational environment. New concepts for general aviation will also fall in this domain. NOTE: The EU has introduced the term Innovative Air Mobility (IAM), whilst the ICAO, FAA and other international stakeholders use the term AAM. This domain is evolving fast and terminology will continue to change. Working Group WG-105 is active in the very broad field of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The six sub-groups are developing standards covering standardisation activities from technical design issues all the way to operational requirements of UTM. WG-112 develops standards for VTOL systems in a holistic manner and therefore a manifold set of subgroups with very diverse range of topics is quite active. The goal is the safe and secure integration of those aircraft into the existing aviation structure (including certification), as well as in the ATM system.”
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