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Air Vehicle Systems
Deadline: Mar 16, 2016  

 Horizon Europe

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The successful integration of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), General Aviation (GA) and Rotorcraft with the Commercial Aviation is a key issue for the SES. A failure in reaching this integration, could result in restrictions to the accessibility for those classes of vehicles, or lead to issues that adversely affect safety (such as airspace infringements).

Currently, RPAS operations are not routinely integrated into the ATM environment and RPAS can only fly in segregated airspace. Moreover, there is a lack of regulations on the subject and the certification and flight-authorisation plans are fragmented and conducted at a national level.

It is required to ensure a cross-fertilisation of technical solutions between RPAS and General Aviation and Rotorcraft (GA/R) and this will be obtained thanks to a technical coordination between the project areas. This project shall focus on technical aspects that are unique to RPAS and GA/R, consistently with the user needs and the operational requirements expressed in other SESAR2020/SESAR1 projects.


The technical solutions that will be addressed into the present project cover two main areas: integrated RPAS operations, and (GA/R) operations. It must be noted that solutions to be developed might and should be applicable to both areas.

In the area of enabling integrated RPAS operations:

  • Airborne Detect and Avoid (D&A) Systems supporting integrated RPAS operations: RPAS Detect & Avoid (D&A) addresses the ability of RPAS to replicate the human ability to see and avoid. It is essential to have this capability as it is one of the cornerstones of aviation called “rules of the air” in which the pilot is ultimately responsible for the safety of the flight.

Regarding systems to enable Integrated General Aviation and Rotorcraft (GA/R) operations in the European Air Traffic Management System:

  • GA/R Specific Communication Systems: development of future communication enablers that are very specific to GA/R needs and to enable their integration into the ATM datalink environment and to benefit from the datalink applications

  • GA/R Specific NavigationSystems: development of future navigation enablers that are very specific to GA/R needs and to enable their integration into performance based airspace

  • GA/R Specific Surveillance Systems: development of future surveillance enablers that are very specific to GA/R needs and to enabling their integration to the future ATM environment

  • GA/R Specific Information Management Systems: GA/R operations are dominated by single-pilot operations without an operations centre to support.Thus there is a need to ensure that the functions that the SESAR concept expects from an FOC can be reasonably carried out by such airspace users

As far as GA development is concerned, large airplanes with complex avionics are not considered as part of the scope (covered by other projects e.g CNS).

Expected Impact:
  • Safety: RPAS D&A is a critical component of ensuring safe, integrated operations of RPAS in non-segregated airspace.

  • Interoperability: RPAS D&A is required to ensure safe operations by unmanned platforms, but such systems must be interoperable with those of manned airspace users and not adversely impact such operations.

  • Access and Equity: Improve accessibility to airspace and airports for RPAS, GA and Rotorcraft users, whilst maintaining or increasing the safety level of operations.

  • Cost-effectiveness: Cost is an important driver for solutions in the areas of RPAS and GA.

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