UAV testing facility selects Harris for BVLOS support

May 11, 2017  - By
Image: GPS World

Grand Sky Airfield Operations, a 217-acre UAS test facility in North Dakota, has selected Harris Corporation to provide an advanced solution to support beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flight operations, reducing the need for chase planes to provide constant visual surveillance during flight. Grand Sky tenants will have the ability to conduct BVLOS UAS flights, enabling commercial and government operators to deploy their technologies, test and conduct operations. The announcement was made during AUVSI’s Xponential.

Harris will provide a customized RangeVue sense-and-avoid solution that delivers real-time situational awareness of surrounding unmanned and manned aircraft traffic, with  multi-sensor surveillance for cooperative and non-cooperative vehicles. airspace situational awareness tool designed specifically for test-range operations for unmanned air systems (UAS). RangeVue puts real-time NextGen surveillance data, obstacle data, flexible background maps and weather information in the hands of the people who are actually in the field testing and validating UAS missions. The solution will cover the 217-acre unmanned aircraft business and aviation park located on Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota.

It will enhance Grand Sky’s infrastructure for safe and efficient BVLOS UAS operations and testing, ensuring the FAA’s stringent safety requirements are met and eliminating the need for expensive chase planes to track UAS entering, exiting or operating within Grand Sky’s 60 nautical-mile radius airspace.

Harris’ Grand Sky solution will combine available surveillance sources — including Grand Forks AFB’s radar feed, locally installed ADS-B Xtend and FAA NextGen surveillance data — into a single stream that offers  area coverage and airspace visualization for drone operators. Xtend supplements the FAA’s existing ADS-B nationwide network operated by Harris, which provides precise and reliable satellite-based surveillance for the nation’s air traffic control system.