ITU-R REPORT M.2205
Results of studies of the AM(R)S allocation in the band 960-1 164 MHz and of the AMS(R)S allocation in the band 5 030-5 091 MHz to support control and non-payload communications links for unmanned aircraft systems
|Publication Date:||1 November 2010|
Significant growth is forecast in the UAS sector of aviation. The current state of the art in UAS design and operation is leading to the rapid development of UAS applications to fill many diverse requirements. The ability of UAs to effectively support long duration and hazardous missions, are key drivers in the development and deployment of increasing numbers of UAS applications.
Though UA have traditionally been used in segregated airspace where separation from other air traffic can be assured, some administrations anticipate broad deployment of UA in non-segregated airspace shared with manned aircraft. If UA operate in a non-segregated civil airspace, they must be integrated safely and adhere to operational practices that provide an acceptable level of safety comparable to that of a conventional manned aircraft. In some cases, those practices will be identical to those of manned aircraft.
It should be noted that in certain countries a wide range of frequency bands have been used for control of the UA in segregated airspace for both line-of-sight (LoS) and beyond line-of-sight (BLoS). Currently, many of these bands do not have the safety aspect required to enable UA flight in non-segregated airspace.
Thus it is envisioned that UA will operate alongside manned aircraft in non-segregated airspace using methods of control that could make the location of the pilot transparent to air traffic control (ATC) authorities and airspace regulators.
Because the pilot is located remotely from the UA, radio frequency (RF) communications links will be required to support, among other things, UA telemetry data, telecommand messages, and the relay of ATC communications. Since this connection will be used to ensure the safety of life and property, reliable communications links and access to appropiate spectrum are required. It is also expected that the characteristics of the information will necessitate user authentication, and interference resilience. As technology advances, it can be expected that more autonomous flight capability will be incorporated into UA. Even for autonomous UAS operations, RF communications links with the same performance characteristics will be required for emergencies as well as for selected operating conditions. If the spectrum requirements of UAS operations cannot be accommodated within existing aviation spectrum allocations, additional appropriately allocated spectrum may be necessary to support UAS operations.
The goal of airspace access for appropriately equipped UAS requires a level of safety similar to that of an aircraft with a pilot onboard. The safe operation of UAS outside segregated airspace requires addressing the same issues as manned aircraft, namely integration into the air traffic control system. Because some UAS may not have the same capabilities as manned aircraft to safely and efficiently integrate into non-segregated airspace, they may require communications link performance that exceeds that which is required for manned aircraft. In the near term, one critical component of UAS safety is the communication link between the remote pilot's control station (UACS) and the UA.
Radiocommunication is the primary method for remote control of the unmanned aircraft. Seamless operation of unmanned and manned aircraft in non-segregated airspace requires high-availability communication links between the UA and the UACS. In addition, radio spectrum is required for various sensor applications that are integral to UAS operations including on-board radar systems used to track nearby aircraft, terrain, and obstacles to navigation.
The objective of this Report is to study the AM(R)S allocation in the band 960-1 164 MHz and the AMS(R)S allocation in the band 5 030-5 091 MHz1 to support control links for UAS in which the control and non-payload communications (CNPC) links of future UAS can operate reliably without causing harmful interference to incumbent services and systems.
The technical information given in this paper is not relevant for operational purposes.
1 Other bands exist, in which operational systems are already in use, which could ensure safe, reliable, and effective UA flight operation. Consequently no studies have been undertaken in these bands in this Report.