The Air Force is considering adding sense-and-avoid capabilities to some of its remotely piloted aircraft. In a request for information posted Jan. 12, the Air Force notes that federal aviation rules require pilots to “see and avoid” other air traffic, but RPAs do not have pilots on board. Sense and avoid capabilities would allow RPAs “to maintain safe separation, to include avoiding collisions, as well as safely integrate with other airspace users,” according to the RFI. The request seeks information about existing and emerging technology that could fill the sense-and-avoid capability gap, but a question-and-answer document attached to the request stresses that there is no formal requirement or request for proposals yet. The purpose of the request is just for information and planning purposes, according to the document.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.