[Avionics Today June 23, 2014] Rockwell Collins and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have announced a new project to test communications capabilities for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The project will feature a NASA-operated S-3 Viking aircraft and the University of Iowa Operator Performance Laboratory's Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft serving as surrogates for UAS during two phases of testing.
During the first phase, the ability of UAS to transfer communications from one tower to another will be tested. The second phase will focus on the ability of a single tower to communicate with multiple aircraft. According to Rockwell Collins, the project will develop a non-proprietary data link waveform to be released as a public resource.
"Routine integration of sizeable numbers of UAS into the national airspace system is a challenging task," said Troy Brunk, vice president and general manager of Airborne Solutions for Rockwell Collins. "This technology will provide the critical communications link for UAS pilots on the ground to safely and securely operate their remotely piloted vehicles in flight even though they are many miles apart."