U.K.’s NAC to develop UAS for civil airspace
Sept. 12, 2013, London, U.K. - A new private initiative to enable operations of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in civilian airspace has progressed with the official launch of the National Aeronautical Centre (NAC).
The NAC has been created through a partnership between West Wales Airport and Newquay Cornwall Airport.
Launched in London, the NAC will provide the country with an ability to take advantage of UAS marketplace, one of the world's major economic opportunities.
The centre enables the development, evaluation, testing, training and demonstration for beyond-line-of-sight (BLoS) UAS.
Open to civilian and military contractors and operators, the centre is capable of providing the required services and accommodation for all sizes of UAS expected to be produced and developed over the next 20 years.
NAC head Ray Mann said that the launch is a further step towards developing a U.K.-based UAS capability that can operate in a competitive global market place.
"This is an opportunity for the U.K. to lead the way," Mann said. "Together, West Wales Airport and Newquay Cornwall Airport are committed to being at the forefront of developments in this sector and we hope our vision will deliver rewards.
"This is an opportunity for the U.K. to lead the way."
"We need to ensure that some current perceptions of civilian use of UAS don't hinder the U.K.'s ability to capitalise on this exciting opportunity for economic growth."
Although the global aerospace market is estimated to be worth $4tn by 2030, the U.K. is currently forecast to see only 10% of this investment.
In the military sector alone, the value of the UAS market is estimated to be £30 billion annually by 2020.
Newquay Cornwall Airport managing director Al Titterington said: "The creation of the NAC has given the UK a world unique, national asset, where the development of new aerospace technologies, in the form of UAS, is now being undertaken."