SecureUTM project establishes cyber certification scheme and boosts Belgian airspace security

Unifly and Nexova Group presented an update on the SecureUTM project at the Belgian National Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Workshop on June 19, which included stakeholder feedback, regulatory analyses, the establishment of the cyber certification scheme, and a gap analysis.

The SecureUTM project, part of the Navigation Innovation and Support Program (NAVISP) funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), aims to develop a cyber certification scheme for uncrewed traffic management (UTM) systems. Hosted by the Belgian Science Policy Office and the European Space Agency, the PNT workshop convened industry leaders and technical experts to discuss the latest developments. 

As uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) gain importance, particularly for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) missions, their integration into manned airspace presents cybersecurity challenges due to high automation levels. The SecureUTM project addresses these by proposing a cyber certification scheme for UTM systems in the EU, ensuring compliance with regulations and cybersecurity standards. The project aims to design, develop, and deploy a UTM system compliant with this proposed certification scheme and is divided into two phases: the Technology (Step 1), which is nearing completion, and the Product Phase (Step 2). 

A secure proof of concept for Belgian airspace has been developed by implementing identified mitigation measures, using Unifly’s UTM to meet the project’s stringent security standards. A validation exercise is currently being performed by comparing a non-secured version with a secured version containing mitigation actions by executing attack scenarios. These findings are being compiled into a validation report. In parallel, discussions are started to define the concrete outline of Step 2.  

Moving forward, the project findings will be used for further research and development within the NAVISP program, including the implementation of a pilot program for a secure Belgian UTM with rigorous validation trials. 

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