The demonstration was conducted by AAI Corp. on its Shadow 200 unmanned aircraft system.
"This was the first successful demonstration of technology that will enable an airborne Sense and Avoid System on Army platforms," said U.S. Army Ground Maneuver Product Manager Lt. Col. Andrew Hamilton. "Building on the success of the ground-based Sense and Avoid System, this successful demonstration represents the next step toward an integrated air and ground-based sense and avoid solution allowing unmanned flights in the National Airspace System."
The goals of SSAASy are to improve safety and training effectiveness with the ultimate objective of safely flying unmanned aerial systems in U.S. National Airspace System. The majority of current UAS flight time is overseas in military operations but flight crew training and development of UAS is conducted in the United States within restricted air space or under a Certificate of Authorization approved by the FAA.
The flight was conducted by AAI and SSAASy developer Defense Research Associates Inc. of Ohio, under contract with the Army. Unique to the flight test was the participation of a manned aircraft provided by the Army.
The Shadow UAS aircraft flew at an average altitude of 9,000 feet for more than two hours. The manned aircraft flew at 1,000 feet above and below the Shadow during the second flight.
The U.S. Air Force and DRA began developing an Electro-Optical Sense and Avoid System in 2001 and created the SSAASy program in 2007 as a technology transition initiative from the U.S. Air Force to the Army.