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UAS Autonomous Technologies for Terminal Airspace Operations (TAO)

Published September 18th, 2019

Manned-unmanned teaming operations require seamless operation across all domains of warfare. For Group 4-5 UAS these operations include all phases of flight from takeoff and departure in a terminal area environment through tactical mission operations as well as arrival back to a terminal area and recovery. Autonomous technologies are required to seamlessly integrate into the airspace and securely coordinate with Air Traffic/Air Combat Controllers to increase safety and share situation awareness for nominal and contingency operations.  Current UAS operations in the terminal area include UAS pilots using ground-based control station assets to coordinate with multiple ATC personnel for coordination and communication. Many potential autonomous technologies can be developed to improve safety while integrating with normal air traffic.  AFRL will consider all research topics to develop reliable, cost effective technologies that safely increase productivity and effectiveness of USAF Group 4-5 UAS for seamless integration into the terminal area airspace that reduce the degree of human control and decision making required for the unmanned system operations and can be demonstrated through flight testing.