Military Embedded Systems

Rockwell Collins, NASA to initiate tests to safely integrate UASs into national airspace


June 26, 2014

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA. Rockwell Collins has teamed up with NASA to perform risk reduction tests with the end goal to enable unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to safely operate in the national airspace.

During the two-part testing, the NASA-owned Lockheed S-3 Viking and the University of Iowa Operator Performance Laboratory's Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft will be used as surrogates for UASs.

The first part of the test will demonstrate the ability of unmanned aircraft to hand off communications from one tower to another. The second part of the test will demonstrate the ability of a single tower to communicate to multiple aircraft. The data link waveform being developed by Rockwell Collins can support multiple channels from a single ground transmitter, enabling multiple aircraft to be simultaneously served.

This project, co-funded by Rockwell Collins, will develop a non-proprietary data link waveform that is planned for release as a public resource. It will help both the industry and the FAA to develop an appropriate set of rules and requirements for reliable unmanned flight operations in the national airspace system.

"Routine integration of sizeable numbers of UAS into the national airspace system is a challenging task," says Troy Brunk, VP and GM of Airborne Solutions for Rockwell Collins. "This technology will provide the critical communications link for UAS pilots on the ground to safely and securely operate their remotely piloted vehicles in flight even though they are many miles apart."

For more information, visit


Featured Companies

Rockwell Collins

2730 West Tyvola Road
Charlotte, NC 28217
Unmanned - Test