Mission possible - First UAV flight operating in a German military airspace after successful cooperation of Germany-based PLATH and Czech Republic-based company Primoco UAV
Germany-based PLATH GmbH & Co KG and Czech Republic-based company Primoco UAV just demonstrated that with joint efforts the first successful BVLOS-flight of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was made possible under an all-European LUC while regular air traffic was happening in a military airspace of the Bundeswehr in Manching. The versatile fixed-wing UAV “One 150” from Primoco´s portfolio is perfectly suitable for a range of tasks with its take-off weight of 150 kg and a payload of 30 kg allowing an operation time of more than 15 hours non-stop in the air. PLATH´s onboard multi-sensor technologies and airborne radio and transponder allowed safe air traffic management (ATM) and collected all necessary data for the successful mission.
The WTD 61 Geschäftsfeld 470 in Manching was given a mandate from BAAINBw L 5.2 to conduct flight demonstrations to assess the capabilities of the Primoco One 150. The flight was made possible with a LIGHT UAS OPERATOR CERTIFICATE (LUC) from Ingolstadt-Manching airport where the Bundeswehr unit WTD 61, GF 470 is located. It was the Primoco One 150's maiden flight with a LUC in in German airspace. Equipped with a LUC, there was no further need to obtain an approval from the national civil aviation authority of Germany - Luftfahrt Bundesamt (LBA). The frequencies for this flight were allotted by the federal network agency - Bundesnetzagentur (BNA).
All three flights have been successfully performed end of April. After ensuring seamless communication and procedures through a test flight in Visual Line of Sight (VLOS), the air space was opened for all other aircraft. During the following BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) and the BVLOS endurance flight the next day several missions were conducted with focus on flight parameters, navigational accuracy, and other aspects. The PLATH system consisting of onboard multi-sensor technologies and multi-platform connectivity helped the system pass all operational tests by the Bundeswehr with flying colours. In addition, the UAV is equipped with an airborne radio and transponder which made air traffic management (ATM) easy and safe and provided all necessary data for the future-oriented flight mission.
For safety reasons the plane carried a ballistic recovery parachute allowing to minimise the landing impact in case of an emergency. The Primoco flight crew is a holder of both, civil and military drone pilot licenses. The fruitful cooperation leading to this successful test proved that the team´s UAV may be easily integrated into the modern army structure and can perform its missions safely and effectively with compliance to latest aviation standards.
Heiko Fimpel, Director Presales at PLATH commented on this milestone: “I am happy to have this great partnership with Primoco, enabling us with their competence and engagement to bring our high-tech sensor systems over the area of interest and make this success possible. I´d like to thank the Bundeswehr for the competent, friendly and fruitful cooperation leading to this milestone in military aviation in Germany. As the UAV can be easily adapted to different types of sensor operation and integrated into the modern army structure this new vehicle category will have a great future ahead.”
The Primoco UAV SE CEO Ladislav Semetkovský commented the deployment as follows: “I also would like to thank the whole Bundeswehr team and base command, who provided exceptional support for making this evaluation possible. Although the operation took place under a civilian Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC) the plane is designed for full compliance with military STANAG 4703 standards as well. The LUC was selected because it allowed us to perform the activities freely within the frame of our approval and with no delays or additional approvals needed. Our team enjoyed the conversations with representatives from various Bundeswehr units and departments as well as with our partner PLATH who gave us, as the Bundeswehr team, valuable feedback on our system. Obviously, the operation from a prestigious location such as Ingolstadt-Manching required perfect preparation and elimination of any potential risks limiting the base operation.”