In the framework of the on-going cooperation between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Defence Agency (EDA), a specific Project Arrangement (PA) for the demonstration of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)-based mission was signed on 15th of December 2011 in Paris.
This project, which is part of the ESA-EDA joint initiative on UAS, is co-funded by ESA and EDA, and aims at demonstrating the value of space for UAS-based services and for UAS safe insertion in non-segregated airspace. It is based on the requirements gathered in the two parallel feasibility studies carried out in parallel by ESA and EDA in 2010, resp. 'Satellites for the Integration in Non segregated airspace of UAS in Europe (SINUE)', the 'Integrated Deployment of UAS in the European Airspace using Satellites (IDEAS), and on the outputs of additional activities in the UAS domain (EDA Air4All and EREA for UAS studies, etc…).
The demonstration project is part of the IAP programme (ARTES element 20) dedicated to the development and promotion of applications and services that use space systems with the objectives to establish sustainable operational solutions.
For EDA, the demonstration project is part of the UAS Air Traffic Insertion work strand. It is intended to complement the EDA Joint Investment Programme on UAS under the European Framework Cooperation.
The main objectives of the project are:
The project shall involve representatives of the user communities and shall perform demonstration flights (with a UAS) providing services of interest for them, e.g. environment and maritime surveillance services. Furthermore, in order to address the insertion of UAS in the general airspace, some phases of the flights (take-off, landing, part of the mission) shall be performed in class A, B or C non-segregated airspace.
To demonstrate the suitability and benefits of satellite–based UAS for the selected user applications/services and for Air traffic insertion, most of the mission area, as well as some parts of the en-route flight, shall be located Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS), and satellite communications links shall be established for Payload and Safety of Flight Communications when in BLOS conditions. The project is based on a single procurement action undertaken by ESA in accordance with ESA rules, and covering the full scope of the work.
Information on the call for proposals has been published on ESA’s Electronic Mail Invitation to Tendering System, EMITS (http://emits.esa.int), under the reference AO 7082 (under “Open Invitations to Tender”). The applicable tender solicitation package can be downloaded by registered users under this 'Announcement of Opportunity' (AO). This specific call is open for applications until 3rd of May 2012. 'Entity Registration' is possible on the same website.