FAA selects industry and academic partners to test solutions to advance BVLOS operations

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has contracted Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RI&S), a Raytheon Technologies business, to advance Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLoS) operations and support unmanned aircraft systems integration into the National Airspace System (NAS) through strategic partnerships with academia and industry.

Under the contract, RI&S will establish a ground-based Supplemental Data Service Provider test program comprising of local radar services using the Skyler Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, UAS weather product services, and UAS service suppliers. Test range operations for the program will be provided by partnering with Virginia Tech, SkyGrid, ANRA Technologies and Tomorrow.io.

Skyler is RI&S’ scalable, software-defined ground-based AESA radar platform that addresses UAS Traffic Management and weather surveillance challenges. A Skyler network can survey the low-altitude airspace and provide a complete operating picture for multiple missions simultaneously, including those required for safe and efficient Urban Air Mobility and Advanced Airspace Mobility. As such, Skyler is designed to meet or exceed RTCA DO-381, the industry recognized Minimum Operating Performance Standard for Ground-Based Surveillance Systems.

“Holistic awareness of the low-altitude airspace through UTM and other services is absolutely crucial for scaling BVLoS operations and safely expanding UAS integration,” said Tombo Jones, director of the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Partnership, the FAA-designated test site that will be partnering with Raytheon Intelligence & Space on the project. “It’s a complex research problem, and this award from the FAA brings together the talented team that can take it on. We’re excited to be involved.”

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