Sunhillo has confirmed that it has participated in an emergency management exercise in New Jersey with unmanned aerial systems (UAS), in conjunction with a variety of industry partners and first responder organizations including the FAA, NASA, the US Coast Guard, the NJ State Police UAS Unit, and the NJ Regional Incident Operations Center (RIOC).
The purpose of the exercise was to demonstrate the benefits that unmanned aircraft can provide to New Jersey during a natural disaster such as a hurricane, such as accelerated response and increased safety of first responders and people in distress. With regulatory approval for routine BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) UAS operations in the National Airspace System (NAS) emerging as a near-term priority, the use of UAS in real world disaster response has become a real prospect.
For this exercise American Aerospace’s long endurance AiRanger UAS was flown, and a chase plane was utilized as a visual observer. The aircraft was flown throughout Cape May county with its mission to inspect the coastline, roadways, and bridges coming into Cape May. Having first-hand knowledge of areas affected by a natural disaster can assist first responders by providing information such as debris blocking roadways or bridges, flooded regions, or survivors in distress. With this knowledge first responders can better prepare how to reach people safely and will inevitably save lives.
Sunhillo’s primary role in the operation was to provide situational awareness of manned and unmanned aircraft to the simulated NJ ROIC, EOC, and flight operations team. Sunhillo Surveillance, UAS and ADS-B equipment were located at Woodbine airport and at the simulated ROIC and EOC which were represented at the NARTP facility.
Located onsite at the Woodbine airport, Sunhillo set up its Margate II ADS-B receiver and antenna, which were hoisted up above the UAS Mobile Operations Center (MOC). The ADS-B receiver was able to view ADS-B equipped aircraft out past Philadelphia and all the way down below Washington D.C. Utilizing Sunhillo’s Surveillance Monitoring System (SMS) display, the ADS-B receiver provided a clear picture of local aircraft for situational awareness to the ROIC and the UAS flight ops team. Sunhillo’s SMS fed the display located onsite at Woodbine and simultaneously to the NARTP for display at the simulated ROIC.
Sunhillo’s UAS-Connector (UAS-C) was a key component of the exercise, providing tracking of the unmanned aircraft performing the surveillance of the Cape May area. The UAS-C is connected directly to the UAS Ground Control Station (GCS) and utilizes the C2 link which is translated by the UAS-C to track the aircraft without ADS-B or radar. The UAS-C can then feed the SMS Display, which can display the unmanned aircraft alongside the manned aircraft, giving everyone a ubiquitous situational awareness picture. The attendees to the event at the ROIC were able to see the UAS as well as the chase plane and other manned aircraft.
Sunhillo has provided products, services and expertise to the FAA, US DOD, Air Traffic Control (ATC) industry, and Air Traffic Management (ATM) partners worldwide. The company has also become the preferred provider of surveillance data distribution products, services and systems to the FAA, the U.S. DOD, and civilian ATM providers across the globe, and has performed live flight operations for NASA’s UTM Task orders with a FAA UAS Test Site.