uAvionix and the New Mexico State University Physical Science Laboratory (NMSU PSL) have entered into a partnership to deploy uAvionix’s SkyLine managed Command and Control (C2) platform, in order to support networked autonomous UAS (unmanned aerial systems) operations at the NMSU PSL UAS Flight Test Site. The NMSU PSL is home to one of the seven U.S. FAA-designated UAS flight test sites and provides 15,000 square miles of airspace in southwestern New Mexico that permits UAS flights from the surface up to 10,000 MSL and above.
The SkyLine enterprise Command and Control infrastructure management service was built from the ground up to meet aviation design standards for critical UAS and UAM (urban air mobility) applications. The system combines certified hardware and software into services for seamless management of UAS missions and infrastructure. SkyLine’s first deployment and testbed was for VANTIS, North Dakota’s statewide UAS C2 network.
The NMSU UAS Flight Test Site operates its own UAS fleet, which ranges from small battery-powered units to complex medium-altitude systems. An onsite team of pilots, aircrew, engineers, and technicians works to advance the research and development of new technology for homeland security, agriculture, defense, and science applications, and supports standards development for UAS regulators for the integration of unmanned systems into the National Airspace System.
The SkyLine C2 platform consists of scalable and robust ground radio hardware, which communicates with MicroLink airborne radios operating from 902-928MHz that are managed by a cloud-based network service layer. This service monitors and manages signal strength, roaming/handoffs, and provides centralized control for mission-critical and BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) operations. For higher-risk operations such as Air Mobility and Critical Infrastructure, uAvionix is developing RTCA DO-362A C-Band GRS and ARS hardware, which will provide maximum reliability and protection by operating on a licensed protected spectrum to prevent unwanted and unsafe interference.
Christian Ramsey, President of uAvionix, commented: “Introducing our managed command and control capabilities to the PSL UAS Flight Test Site enables NMSU PSL customers to develop certifiable platforms and safety case approval for BVLOS operations. SkyLine leverages our extensive aviation heritage applied to C2 radios and will enable the NMSU PSL team to monitor and control aircraft location, network health, capacity, and roaming capabilities directly from the SkyLine Service Platform.”
Henry Cathey, Director of PSL Aerospace Division and NMSU UAS Test Flight Site, said: “NMSU is proud to introduce top-of-the-line capabilities to our customers, who increasingly focus on the safe integration of unmanned UAS with manned aviation in BVLOS and mission-critical operations. Utilizing a scalable infrastructure that will make use of RTCA DO-362A standards will enable our customers to build and safely test their capabilities in a certifiable way and will ensure our faculty and trained staff of pilots, aircrew, engineers, and technicians will remain at the front end of technology development.”