Military & Aerospace Blog
The new FAA bill paves the way for use of UAVs into commercial US skies, opening up new market opportunities for technology vendors that now operate in the government and defense industry.
On Feb. 14, 2012, President Barack Obama signed a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) re-authorization bill worth roughly $63.4 billion, mostly intended for the FAA to fund and create a new national navigation system for commercial aircrafts, such as jetliners and private aircrafts. The intended outcome is to switch the nation’s air traffic control system from older radar systems to newer satellite-based Global Positioning Systems (GPS), enabling more efficiency and safety management procedures. However, what is exciting to many technology vendors that play in the government and defense space is that this new bill also paves the way for use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into commercial U.S. skies. For companies like FreeWave Technologies (www.freewave.com) that provide reliable, high-performance spread spectrum and licensed radios for mission-critical data transmission, the bill opens up significant new market opportunities to sell wireless communications technology into the new governmental and non-governmental markets. The foremost UAS requirements outlined in the new FAA bill include:
- September 30, 2015 deadline for full incorporation of unmanned aircrafts into the national airspace
- Calling for small unmanned aircrafts (under 55 pounds) to be allowed to fly within two years
- Requiring six new test sites within six months
- Necessitating accelerated access for public safety officials, such as law enforcement and emergency response teams
- Enabling first responders to fly very small unmanned aircrafts (4.4 pounds or less) within three months
- Requirements are outlined for the FAA to study the causes of accidents related to unmanned aircraft systems
Today, there are proven wireless data communications technologies for unmanned systems in the government and defense markets. Some vendors have mastered the requirements for military UAS applications and have been selling wireless data communications solutions into the government and defense markets for a few decades. FreeWave is excited by the opportunity this new FAA bill offers. It opens up new opportunities for us, our partners and other technology vendors to expand our solutions and offerings into new commercial markets. Up to now, vendors, like FreeWave, have been limited to selling these types of solutions to customers and partners in the defense and government markets only.
For example, ways in which this new bill can positively impact organizations like FreeWave include new market opportunities in:
- Police Departments and Emergency Responders
- Public Safety Organizations, Homeland Security and Border Patrol
- Agricultural business Companies and Farmers
- Oil, Gas and Energy Companies