Brussels: The European Defence Agency has said that it has awarded a contract worth Euro 500,000 with a consortium of defence and aerospace companies to develop a detailed roadmap for integrating Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) into European airspace.
The aim of the roadmap will be to ensure that UAVs fly routinely with other air traffic, latest by the end of 2015.
The contract was awarded to the Air4All consortium, consisting of BAE Systems with BAE Systems Operations Platform Solutions, Alenia Aeronautica, Dassault Aviation, Diehl BGT Defence, EADS CASA, EADS Defence & Security, Germany, Galileo Avionica, QinetiQ, Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, SAAB AB, Sagem Defence Systems and Thales Aerospace as co-contractors.
The project will help various European stakeholders, such as airworthiness authorities, air traffic management bodies, procurement agencies, industry and research institutes to develop a joint agenda for common European UAV activities, leading to specific projects addressing security, commercial as well as defence applications of UAVs.
"This is a key initiative for Europe that provides a nucleus for setting realistic goals that will lead to Unmanned Aircraft Systems operating in total harmony with other airspace users," said project director, Dave Kershaw, on behalf of the Air4All consortium.
"We have an established, highly talented and qualified team with a total of over 350 years of relevant experience in the field of civil and military certification, qualification and operations. The team looks forward to working with the EDA and key European stakeholders, such as regulatory authorities (EASA and EUROCONTROL), EUROCAE and the European Commission, to deliver a quality strategic route map that put Europe at the forefront of creating safe routine use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems," he added.
EDA chief executive Alexander Weis said: "We are very pleased to see so many of the leading companies in Europe taking part in this consortium, which gives us confidence that we are well on the way to making real progress in this critical area, which is of great interest to our participating member states."