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Airbus | Avionics | Boeing | Domestic Security | Industry & Trends | Israel | Protective Systems - Aircraft | UAVs | USA

Will UAV Proliferation Create Unfriendly Skies for Other Aircraft?

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Killer UAV flocks The U.S. military already operates at least 1,500 UAVs, and that number is expected to quadruple by the end of this decade, according to the U.S. Navy League. Agencies like the US Department of Homeland Security are ordering their own UAVs, and the difficulty of coordinating UAVs and manned traffic is already causing a factor in Iraq, where at least one collision with a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter may have occurred. Meanwhile, Israeli researchers have figured out ways to incorporate flocking behavior and decision making into UAVs that improves upon individual UAV performance, and the US is investing in this area as well. In other words, not only will there be more UAVs, but more group/swarm UAV employment is also likely. Can all this UAV traffic mingle safely with manned aircraft traffic, which is also expected to grow on the civilian side over the next decade? Avionics Magazine looks at the issue, and notes that even Boeing and Airbus seem to agree on the solution: a technology called required navigation performance (RNP). As today’s field report article notes, however, a military solution will be at least as important if the full benefits of UAVs are to be realized […]

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