Minutes: Discussion Area 4 - Airspace Management and Traffic Deconfliction

(Discussion Area Leader: Jacque Chabane)

Area 4 included three presentations:

  1. "Airspace Management with the Initial Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Capability (ICC)" (NATO UNCLAS), Ms. Laura Fanti, Air C2 Branch, Air C2 & Sensors Division, N3A-NL
  2. "UAV Battlelab Demonstration of TCAS on UAVs for Electronic Detection of Traffic" (NATO UNCLAS), Captain C.J. Deluise, USAF Battlelab
  3. "Guidelines for UAV Operations, Design Specification, Maintenance and Training of Human Resources" (NATO UNCLAS), Mr. Jacques Chabane, Head Airspace Management Section, Air Defense and Airspace Management Directorate, and member of the NATO Air Traffic Management Committee (NATMC), NATO HQ

Question opportunities were provided after each presentation and at the end of the Discussion Area briefings. Questions and discussion are summarized below:

Q. Is the ICC applicable for C2 of UAVs?

A. Yes, in principle. It forms a good basis for initial UAV C2 but UAVs may drive new requirements for C2 system. UAV routing and special use airspace can already be supported using the manned aircraft capabilities.

Q. You mentioned that the ICC format is computer-readable. Does this mean that the data can be read only by ICC and it is open format, text file, or what?

A. It is a format that a computer can read. Special software is required to read the data. Another system could read the data if special software is added to the system. USMTF data is readable by ICC and CTAPS.

Q. Regarding airspace control, are the current means available for C2 of UAVs adequate or will additional capabilities be required?

A. This is a question that is currently under intense study and cannot be answered at this time.

Q. Regarding TCAS and given the relatively slow airspeeds of many UAVs, isnít the primary threat of collision from the rear?

A. Possibly, but the primary threat to the UAV will probably be an airliner that will have TCAS as well and will maneuver to avoid collision. It is true that TCAS allowable error in the rear hemisphere is far greater than in the forward hemisphere making it difficult to know what the actual azimuth of the object is.

Q. What are the capabilities of TCAS 1 versus TCAS 2?

A. TCAS 1 provides traffic advisory only. TCAS 2 provides avoidance as well.

Q. Is there a great difference in weight, size, and power requirements between TCAS 1 and 2?

A. TCAS 2 weighs about 50 pounds, TCAS 1 still weighs about 40 pounds. Other requirements are similar.

Q. Is the TCAS effort ongoing and is there any plan to miniaturize it?

A. There is no US Dod effort at present to miniaturize TCAS.

Q. What types of latencies are experience with TCAS?

A. A few seconds -- nothing great enough to prevent effective avoidance.

Q. Were TCAS false alarm rates investigated, especially where they could result in a maneuver that would result in a collision where none would have occurred?

A. False alarm rates were addressed in the study, but the likelihood that a false alarm that would result in a collision was not specifically addressed.

Q. Do you think that UAV airworthiness aspects and identification initiatives will be part of the discussions during the upcoming EuroControl workshop?

A. Not certain. The intention is more to concentrate on key elements related to air traffic control of UAVs. Recommend that you contact Mr. Paul Miller of EuroControl who is preparing the agenda for the upcoming workshop.

Q. Regarding the paper handout at this Workshop on Guidance for control of UAVs, how has the paper been accepted by the nations and what is the way ahead?

A. Many comments from the nations on the paper have been received and agreement appears to be imminent. It is not directive to nations, but provides guidance for standardization of practices. The paper commits no one to anything.

Q. Airworthiness and air traffic control are different issues handled by different agencies. EuroControl is in the air traffic control business.

A. True, but coordination between the agencies is necessary to ensure that UAVs are equipped properly and safe to operate within the air traffic structure.

Q. Military and civilian aircraft are certified for airworthiness by military and civilian agencies respectively. There are separate agencies for certification of manned aircraft that need to be kept separate for certification of civil and military UAVs. The military side is far ahead of the civil in UAV airworthiness certification, and we definitely need to draw a line between the civil and military applications of UAVs .

A. Agree. In Europe, airworthiness certification is done at the national level, and ICAO standards come into play. ICAO rules for light aircraft have been used for UAVs but as UAVs get bigger and more capable and complex, the problem gets more difficult. Concur that military and civil certification should remain separate. We would like to have a common approach in NATO Europe, but that is more difficult than in North America because more nations must agree.

Q. Did you say that the NATO Air Traffic Management Group (NATMG) has a mandate by NATO to harmonize all concerns within NATO and problems with outside agencies regarding UAVs?

A. Yes, but by concensus, not by dictate. Agreed in 1998. And in this environment there are two main actors: EuroControl for national civil and military requirements, and NATO for alliance issues.

Summary wrap-up:

  1. Recommend another Workshop to focus on airspace management and traffic deconfliction with mixed manned aircraft and UAV air traffic.
  2. Continue international efforts to develop ICAO and consistent national standards for UAV operations in civil and military airspace and for and airworthiness certification.