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Aerospace 2018, 5(3), 70;

EASA’s “Open” Category for Military UAS: Opportunities and Limitations in the Field of Airworthiness

Institute of Flight System Dynamics, Technische Universität München, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 22 June 2018 / Accepted: 25 June 2018 / Published: 1 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Civil and Military Airworthiness: Recent Developments and Challenges)
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The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) plans to establish a sole risk-based set of regulations for drones to grant access to European airspace, thus opening a multibillion-euro market. One part of this new regulation set is the so-called “open” category, imposing only a minimum set of regulations. The EASA’s approach presents a strong converse to traditional and prescriptive airworthiness regulations. For decades, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have been state-of-the-art assets in military forces. Aiming at the fulfilment of complex missions in extreme environments, in different theatres of operation, and with different partners, military UAS need to be reliable, safe, and interoperable. Therefore, NATO established internationally accepted airworthiness standards. However, these standards might be too severe to be adhered to by small, commercial, off-the-shelf UAS in the up-to-25 kg category, preventing the military from benefiting from the now fast-growing civil drone market. Based on a sound literature review, the paper presents the EASA’s upcoming regulations for civil UAS and discusses if they are applicable to military UAS. Possible opportunities, challenges, and limitations of applying the approach for the military are shown. View Full-Text
Keywords: UAS; airworthiness; military; EASA; “open” category UAS; airworthiness; military; EASA; “open” category

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Hirling, O.; Holzapfel, F. EASA’s “Open” Category for Military UAS: Opportunities and Limitations in the Field of Airworthiness. Aerospace 2018, 5, 70.

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