First EASA Design Verification Report Granted for Medium-Risk Light UAS

Thales' ScaleFlyt avionics system was integrated into the AVEM 300 UAV, which achieved a DVR for the SAIL III category By Mike Ball / 26 Jun 2024
First EASA Design Verification Report Granted for Medium-Risk Light UAS
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Thales has confirmed that it has received the first full DVR (Design Verification Report) ever granted by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the operation of light drones in the medium risk category known as SAIL III.

This process, aimed at ensuring safe UAS operations, strengthens the Group’s position in the emerging civil drone market and represents further progress towards the certification of the Thales UAS100 platform under the most demanding conditions.

Flying drones represents a significant opportunity for businesses in a wide range of market segments to boost their operations and operate with lower environmental and economic costs. However, uncontrolled flying objects could pose risks to air traffic as well as installations and people on the ground. The EASA has thus defined a set of rules to guarantee the safety of drone operations, according to a risk based and proportional approach.

A Specific Operations Risk Assessment is undertaken in order to define the applicable Specific Assurance Integrity Level (SAIL), and determines the need for a Design Verification Report (DVR) from the agency. Thales, in partnership with Aeromapper and ONERA, is the first company to be ever granted such a DVR by EASA for a complete drone system enabling operations in SAIL III conditions. Beyond demonstrating the value of the Group’s expertise in avionics and certification combined with its innovation capability in the civil UAV market, it is a decisive step towards the deployment of long-range drones operations in Europe.

This European premiere is the result of close cooperation with EASA to define and validate the means of compliance to the Light UAS Special Condition. The solution is based on Thales’ ScaleFlyt avionics system, integrated with the AVEM 300 UAV and its CERBERE safety critical autopilot, provided by the innovative startup Aeromapper. ONERA, the French aerospace lab, conducted the safety analysis through the PHYDIAS R&T project financed by the French Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC).

The Thales UAS100 drone utilizes the same ScaleFlyt avionics solutions that was used to achieve this DVR. The next steps for its certification are already engaged with the agency and a flight test campaign is ongoing, notably through a cooperation agreement with Centaurium UAS, a subsidiary of Switzerland-based Centaurium Group, which plans to provide drone services to Swiss authorities and industry players.

Marc Duval-Destin, VP for Strategy, Product Policy and Innovation within Flight Avionics activities at Thales, commented: “We are particularly proud to achieve such a premiere as it paves the way for wider deployment of secure long-range drone operations. The next milestone to make a step change for civil and governmental UAV operations will be to achieve DVR SAIL IV for Thales UAS100. Defence missions will benefit from the AVEM 300’s proven CERBERE triplex avionics, since Aeromapper recently joined forces with Thales’ land and air systems activities.

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