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Army installs ground-based sense-and-avoid system for drones

Unmanned aerial systems at Fort Hood, Texas, will use a newly installed ground-based sense-and-avoid system to safely transit civilian airspace.

By Richard Tomkins
Army installs ground-based sense-and-avoid system for drones
UAS, such as the MQ-1C pictured, are to use a ground-based sense-and-avoid system to safely transit non-restricted airspace in the U.S. Photo by the U.S. Army.

FORT HOOD, Texas, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- A system to support unmanned aerial systems in flying safely from airfields to restricted areas for training and testing has been deployed by the U.S. Army.

The Ground-Based Sense-and-Avoid radar system was put in place earlier this week at Fort Hood, Texas, the first of five installations receiving the capability, the Army reported.

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Fort Hood is home to two MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system companies.

"We are very excited to finally see this come to fruition," said Viva Kelley, product director for U.S. Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems Airspace Integration Concepts. "... It will provide the Army with a safer and more effective way with which to conduct UAS training and testing."

The Army has been using visual observers -- on the ground or in the air -- for sense-and-avoid functions for airspace safety, which is required under federal regulation.

The Army-developed GBSAA system is comprised of multiple subsystems. Included are 3-D radar, data fusion systems, and a tracker and classifier. Also included are separation algorithms, displays and more for sense-and-avoid capability.

It is compatible with any type of unmanned aerial system. It will initially be used for the transit of UAS from airfields to restricted airspace test areas but is expected to be extended to other military operating areas.

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"The GBSAA system has exceeded all of its performance requirements, from the test bed to the full system concept demonstrations and follow-on testing," said Col. Courtney Cote, project manager for UAS. "This system provides the alternate means of compliance with FAA regulatory requirements that will enable our Army to perform the critical mission training they need."

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