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Rockwell Collins Cites UAV Training as Key Enabler for U.S. National Airspace Integration
USAF UAV training
United States Air Force
With the technology explosion in the unmanned arena training was overlooked, reports VP and GM of simulation and training solutions
By RBR Staff



The seeming rush to move UAVs into the U.S. national airspace has encountered turbulence from concerned citizen groups, politicians and the ACLU regarding privacy issues. Now looming safety issues have further clouded UAV readiness.

See companion articles: Collision-free Flying for UAVs in Crowded Skies and Drones Over Manhattan: Stalking Gotham 24x7

From the perspective of defense contractor Rockwell Collins, UAV training is a vulnerability that needs to be addressed. In an interview at AUVSI with Shephard News Service, Rockwell Collins details the shortcomings as well as a successful way forward. With the FAA expecting some 30,000 drones to be aloft in the national airspace by 2030—with thousands airborne much earlier than that—thorough training will be a critical safety concern…and can’t come soon enough.


Shephard News—Following the decision by the FAA to require US national airspace to be open by 2015, Rockwell Collins is utilizing its experience in developing secure UAV components to aid in the transition for the commercial market.

With this new requirement unmanned systems will be able to fly in unrestricted national airspace, which has caused concern to the public, David Schreck, director of UAS and control technologies for government systems at Rockwell Collins told Shephard News Service.

“‘We look at it as a tremendous opportunity,’” Schrek explained. “A lot of what we can do will put the public’s minds at rest.”

He said following the FAA’s decision earlier this year the roadmap has “really started to take shape”.

Schreck said that the company’s experience in developing communications links, secure data links, GPS navigation, and anti-jamming for the military market will all help in making UAVs in the national airspace more reliable; “we’re starting from a very mature perspective”.

He explained that more interaction needs to happen between industry and policy-making bodies, with Rockwell Collins “actively playing’” in conference and sessions that the FAA and other governing bodies conduct.

The company is also concentrating its efforts on UAV simulation and training based on its experience developing training systems for manned aircraft.

LeAnn Ridgeway, VP and GM of simulation and training solutions at the company said: “What we’ve seen is that with the technology explosion in the unmanned arena training was overlooked.”

By not using live assets, Rockwell Collins is providing “efficient, safe training”.

“The whole key to training is how real it is,’” Ridgeway explained. “We’ve been able to utilize the same systems they used for the full manned flight training. We’ve developed a whole core architecture and we’re able to scale it down.”


See also: Shephard News Service


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