Wings Magazine

Lone Star UAS Center to use situational awareness tool in flight

Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center of Excellence and Innovation (LSUASC) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is the first FAA UAS test-site operator to use a new situational-awareness tool in actual flight during recent range operations.

June 25, 2015  By Texas A&M University

Flight operations June 1-5 were managed across multiple locations via the Internet using real-time and historical aircraft surveillance data.

Harris Corporation’s Symphony RangeVue  is the first airspace situational- awareness tool designed specifically for Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) test range operations, providing UAS personnel and operators with the same situational awareness comparable to that of general aviation pilots.

LSUASC deployed RangeVue at its Mission Control Center in Corpus Christi as well as at the center’s Laguna Test Range at Charles R. Johnson Airport in Port Mansfield. Flexible airspace situational awareness and geo-fencing tools alerted operators when non-test aircraft were in the vicinity, enhancing airspace safety.

 Harris and LSUASC have agreed to collaborate toward the FAA’s overarching goal of safe integration of UAS into the national airspace system with research focused on the use of the Harris Symphony RangeVue sense-and-avoid tool.


“Our test-site mission, first and foremost, is to operate safely,” said Jerry Hendrix, Chief Engineer for the Lone Star UAS Center. “That entails our having redundant ways to monitor air traffic within our test ranges and execute procedures for de-conflicting our unmanned aircraft from other aircraft. We are finding that the Harris system is an effective solution providing a comprehensive level of safety in our authorized airspace.”

Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President for Research, Commercialization and Outreach at A&M-Corpus Christi and Interim Executive Director of the LSUASC, said, “Our collaboration with Harris definitely has a future. In turn, we have much to offer to our public- and private-sector customers, and especially to the FAA in terms of research for UAS integration.”

Ed Sayadian, Vice President, Civil & Aerospace Solutions, Harris Corporation said, “The partnership with LSUASC is a win-win arrangement. Harris gains critical product feedback which will be used to shape and validate our service offerings, while LSUASC receives air traffic control-quality surveillance data, increasing safety and enabling beyond-line-of-site operations.”  

Harris also used LSUASC flights to field-test prototypes of a deployable automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) relay and local range station using both real-time LSUASC aircraft and ADS-B test targets.  This was the first end-to-end field test of this equipment, which is also to be deployed later this year during the NASA UAS Traffic Management flight demonstrations.  This field testing is an example of additional research and development opportunities that Harris and LSUASC are pursuing to help enable beyond-visual-line-of-site (BVLOS) operations.


Stories continue below