Long-Distance UAS Flight Performed Through Civilian Airspaces

By Mike Ball / 24 Oct 2019
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Penguin B UAS in Norway

Maritime Robotics, a provider of unmanned surveying and monitoring solutions, has announced that one of its modified Penguin B UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), owned by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), has undertaken a 200km coastal long-distance flight through several civilian airspaces. The flight was performed as part of the Hybrid Operations in the Maritime Environment (HOME) program, a cooperation between Radionor Communications, Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Maritime Robotics, and funded by the Norwegian Research Council and FFI.

Launched by a 2-person crew from Maritime Robotics, the UAV took off from Frøya on the mid-western coast of Norway and flew north towards the sea. The unmanned aircraft used long-range wireless control and communications technology, incorporating phased array antennas from Radionor Communications, to continually stay connected to the operations centre, and passed through different types of controlled civil airspace handled by civil air traffic control.

The UAV was fitted with a transponder, allowing the UAV to flexibly operate in controlled airspace. The aircraft’s status and telemetry was accessible online to effectively maintain command and control capabilities for the entire flight. Operations for this flight were made from Rørvik or Frøya, but the UAV could have been controlled by a specialized crew in a control room anywhere with good network access.

Upon the approach to Rørvik, the landing operator took over control and landed the UAV smoothly. The Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU) provided a mobile operations station and safety pilot to assist with the final approach and landing. Upon landing, the small UAV had been in the air for 2 hours and 12 minutes, flying a route of 200 kilometers and landing approximately 170 kilometers from where it took off.

The mission demonstrated that in addition to round-trip flights from one base, UAV operations can be performed that involve transit between multiple bases. This means greater flexibility in designing UAS missions and services for applications where the operations area may shift, such as search and rescue, or where aircraft may need to land at different bases, such as freight transport.

The Penguin B UAV is manufactured by UAV Factory.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact