North Dakota to build a statewide unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) network

The State of North Dakota has signed an agreement with Thales to build a statewide unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) network for safe BVLOS operations and to support safe airspace integration of unmanned aircraft.

Thales will work together with a consortium of North Dakota based companies (Appareo and Botlink) and other global services providers (Airspace Link and others) as the systems integrator and engineering services provider. The consortium will develop the State’s “system-of-systems” comprised of communications and surveillance infrastructure, backhaul data network, mission network operations center  and UAS platforms and services.

Thales, as a leading integrator of Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) into air traffic management systems, will focus on all elements of the UAS integration into the national airspace over North Dakota. The State’s  network will ensure the safety of unmanned flights and keep operators a safe distance from manned aviation. Thales brings other key capabilities for the safe integration of drones into airspace including cyber security and the concept of centralized, airspace management for drone operations to ensure the safety and security of the national airspace system.

Thales is actively working with stakeholders globally to address the operational and technical challenges of UTM-ATM integration and interoperability. These activities are helping groups like the State of New York, the United States Air Force, CAAS Singapore and Project U-SAFE in Europe, address these evolutionary challenges.