|A still from the radar screen clearly showing the UAS – CRONUS – operating in the same airspace as conventional aircraft. Photo: NATS
[Avionics Today 10-15-2015] Thales’ Watchkeeper Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) flew successfully alongside manned aircraft in controlled civil airspace late last month. Watchkeeper is the only certified platform of its class able to undertake such a flight, according to Thales. Its type assurance and certification allows Watchkeeper to fly in non- segregated airspace, a certification pedigree that is transferable to regulatory authorities within other NATO member countries and the European Aviation Safety Agency.
The flight took place on Sept. 30, and saw Watchkeeper fly from West Wales Airport into civil controlled airspace for an hour, where it was managed by NATS, the U.K. air navigation services provider.
The flight is part of Project CLAIRE — CiviL Airspace Integration for RPAS in Europe — a collaboration between Thales, NATS, the Dutch National Aerospace Laboratory NLR, the U.K. Ministry of Defense, and the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and was joint funded by the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking.