27-28th May 2008, ESTEC
Close to 100 participants representing European industry and institutional stakeholders across the civilian, security and defence domain attended the two-day ESA/EDA workshop on Unmanned Aerial systems (UAS) and Satellite Services, held in ESA's ESTEC facility in Noordwijk, The Netherlands on the 27 and 28 of May. Focusing on the issue of UAS Command and Control over satellite and ATC link, presentations were given by ESA, the European Defence Agency (EDA) as well as representatives of the space industry including Thales, Indra and Alenia Aeronautica on behalf of Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD). Participants were able to gain valuable insights regarding:
- the outcome of ESA-initiated studies in the area of Satellite-UAS cooperative missions;
- the outcome of the EDA-initiated AIR4ALL initiative, and associated activities supporting the AIR4ALL roadmap such as the EDA-led SIGAT study on spectrum issues;
- state-of-the art satellite communications in support of UAS
- the benefits of satellite infrastructure to operators of UAS requiring BLOS (Beyond Line of Sight) operations, safety and air traffic authorities with respect to safety, security, performance and cost.
- the upcoming launch of coordinated feasibility studies by ESA and EDA in the area of UAS C2/ATC with a view to a demonstration mission in 2010/2011.
"The strong interest triggered by this workshop and positive feedback received during the sessions are an encouragement for ESA and EDA to further exploit synergies and deliver concrete solutions for European end-users", says Amnon Ginati, Head of ESA's Integrated Applications Programme.
ASD expressed its appreciation of the ESA/EDA initiative, stressing that industry recognises the importance of the communication link as a key-enabler to assure a full UAS exploitation with significant benefits for a wide range of applications in the civilian, security and defence domain.
EDA's Armaments Director Jukka Juusti hightlighted the cooperative spirit between the two organisations, stressing that by coordinating forces, technological challenges can be overcome and best value for money for the European taxpayer achieved.
The Directorate of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications of ESA supports a number of activities related to the use of satellite systems for UAS missions. EDA has initiated the Air4all activity after being tasked by the Defence Ministers Steering Board in May 2007. Air4All is a consortium of major European aerospace companies involved in UAS activities that are working for the EDA and its participating Member States to put together a road map for the insertion of UAS in the European Airspace.
Presentations given at the workshop are now available for download.