Providing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) is a vital way to increase the effectiveness and potential of UAVs. But the increased range of BVLOS operations requires real-time airspace situational awareness for the UAV pilot and support crew to ensure safe and repeatable operations. To meet this challenge, Canadian UAVs, an unmanned aviation services company based in Calgary, Alberta and Lockheed Martin Canada CDL Systems signed a memorandum of understanding recently to provide an unmanned traffic management solution. This solution will provide a complete airspace picture necessary to conduct unmanned operations beyond visual line of sight in Canada and beyond.
“A complete airspace picture is an absolute necessity to conduct unmanned flights beyond visual line of sight,” said Dustin Engen, Lockheed Martin Canada CDL Systems Business Development Manager. “When combined, Canadian UAV’s Sparrowhawk radar and our VCSi product will offer all users this complete picture and provide the necessary situational awareness for BVLOS flights in Canada and abroad.”
The solution entails integrating Sparrowhawk, Canadian UAVs’ low-cost, ground-based radar with VCSi, a universal Ground Control System based on more than 1.5 million flight hours in military and commercial flight operations. Lockheed Martin Canada CDL Systems will provide the integration support for the vehicle control station software (VCSi). This solution will provide users with a complete airspace picture of manned and unmanned aviation tracking with collision avoidance.
“With Canadian UAVs’ advanced market position in BVLOS operations, we are seeing a lot of gaps in what the general market offers to solve fundamental technological issues in unmanned aviation,” said Sean Greenwood, President of Canadian UAVs. “As a result, we developed a technology roadmap that invests in a comprehensive toolset to increase flight safety and repeatability as these operations increase in volume and airspace complexity. We have been working with Lockheed Martin CDL Systems for several years and we are very excited by this agreement to formalize the relationship.”
Sparrowhawk played an integral part in the first permitted BVLOS flights outside of restricted airspace in Canadian history.