Sagetech Avionics has been awarded a U.S. Air Force Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contract for the initial development phase of components for a type-certifiable detect-and-avoid (DAA) system. This system will provide unmanned aerial systems (UAS) with the ability to safely operate beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) in the National Airspace System (NAS).
During this first phase, Sagetech will develop the ability to provide an acceptable safety case for tracking cooperative targets as part of an Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS) solution. This solution must also additionally not overload the 1090 MHz spectrum. Sagetech will work with the University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site for test flights and data analysis, and results from this first phase will be used to further develop integrated low size, weight, and power (SWaP) ACAS-compatible DAA solutions that will be flown on drones in Phases 2 and 3.
Several categories of UAS operating in the NAS are expected to require certified ACAS Xu and ACAS Xr-based DAA systems like those being developed by Sagetech. These include aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds, as well as those flying above 400 feet and BVLOS. Expected applications include unmanned air taxis, longer-haul cargo transport, ocean patrol, commercial agriculture, energy, and other military, commercial, and civil government applications.
Tom Furey, CEO of Sagetech, commented: “Just like manned aircraft, unmanned aircraft operating in the NAS will require type-certification. Compliant detect-and-avoid systems will be a key part of those certifications. This contract enables us to continue the development and analysis of the critical technologies that will serve as a basis for these systems.”