One of the major challenges in integrating uncrewed aircraft into the same skies as crewed aircraft is that they communicate using different languages, in essence verbal vs data. As experts in trialling advanced communications technology alongside our specialised aviation tasking, Draken Europe has been hard at work recently with our partner Volant Autonomy, supporting trials in the Agile Integrated Airspace System programme (aka ALIAS).
Last week, the ALIAS partners completed their first flight trial using Draken’s crewed Diamond DA42 aircraft in proximate airspace with SkyLift’s uncrewed platform. This is the first of multiple flight trials in which Volant will be building team situation awareness, culminating in uncrewed SkyDrones, SkyLift and SkyPorts being able to operate safely and confidently in the same proximate airspace as Draken’s crewed aircraft.
Anthony (Tony) O’Connor, Draken’s Director of Strategic Bid Programmes, is leading the development of our RPAS capability. He explained the role Draken is currently delivering in the ALIAS trials:
“We recognise there is considerable opportunity for us in building teaming capability to conduct safe UAV operations in challenging and congested airspace. Our investment in this goal is reflected in the contribution we bring to the ALIAS Project, part of Phase 3 of the Innovate UK Future Flight Challenge. The ALIAS project will deliver huge benefits in technological capability. The addition of Draken’s extensive operational experience will, we hope, result in commercial benefits for the whole consortium.”