RFI - Opportunity to Participate in Counter-Drone Detection and/or Mitigation Safety Testing (ASSURE Project A11L.UAS.90 A60)

A team of universities from the FAA’s Center of Excellence for UAS Research, a.k.a. the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), are looking for providers of passive UAS detect, track, identify, and differentiate technologies to participate in one or more of a series of four to six, two to three-week research flight test campaigns to be conducted at various locations throughout the United States during mid to end of the calendar year 2024. The purpose of the flight campaigns is to (1) determine if there are any impacts of these systems on the National Airspace System (NAS) including infrastructure and systems; (2) establish and verify the efficacy and safety of these technologies, sensors, and systems under different conditions to operate in the National Airspace System (NAS);  and (3) the systems’ ability to efficiently detect, track, identify, and differentiate between manned aircraft, authorized UAS, and unauthorized UAS. Funding for technology providers to participate in flight campaigns is available to help defray travel costs.  The research team desires testing a diversity of technologies and will not favor and/or necessarily partner with all technology providers; the team will use FAA approved and pre-determined metrics to select program participants. 


Submissions in response to this project proposal must be strictly limited to Remote ID and certain other limited UAS detection-only systems and technologies. For purposes of this project proposal, no UAS mitigation (also commonly referred to as “counter-UAS”) systems or technologies are permitted.


Remote ID is the capability of an unmanned aircraft or “drone” in flight to provide certain identification, location, and performance information that people on the ground and other airspace users can receive. See 86 Fed. Reg. 4390 at 4391 (Final Rule for Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft). Consistent with 14 C.F.R. § 89.110 and § 89.115, compliance with Remote ID requirements (when not operating in an FAA-recognized identification area or FRIA) may be achieved by operating a standard Remote ID aircraft (i.e. an unmanned aircraft manufactured to broadcast identification, location, and performance information for both the unmanned aircraft and the control station), or by equipping an unmanned aircraft with a Remote ID broadcast module (i.e. a module that broadcasts identification, location, and performance information about the unmanned aircraft and its takeoff location), subject to the conditions outlined in the rule.


This project proposal excludes any research, development, testing, operation, or data collection involving any UAS mitigation systems, capabilities, or technologies. UAS mitigation/counter-UAS capabilities could implicate federal law, including but not limited to the Aircraft Sabotage Act. The FAA does not support the use of mitigation systems by any entities that do not have express authority from Congress. See Advisory on the Application of Federal Laws to the Acquisition and Use of Technology to Detect and Mitigate Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Interagency Legal Advisory on UAS Detection and Mitigation Technologies (faa.gov).


Certain UAS detection capabilities may also be disqualified for inclusion in this project. UAS detection capabilities are technically distinguishable from Remote ID-compliant capabilities. For example, radio frequency (RF) based capabilities designed for the detection of UAS do not rely upon the unmanned aircraft, or a module installed on the unmanned aircraft, for broadcasting specific information to receivers. Rather, RF-based UAS detection systems may function by exploiting the communications transmitted between an unmanned aircraft and its ground control station in order to gain information about the flight and its operator. RF-based UAS detection activities that record, decode, capture, intercept, or interfere with UAS could implicate conflicting provisions of federal law, including but not limited to, the Pen/Trap Statute and the Wiretap Act.


Detection systems that emit electromagnetic waves or pulses of sound or light that are reflected off an object and back to the detection system—such as radar, electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR), and acoustic systems—are less likely to pose concerns under federal criminal surveillance statutes. Such technology senses the sound or electromagnetic waves produced by or reflected from the UAS and does not capture, record, decode, or intercept electronic communications. However, the use of such systems must also comply with laws and regulations administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and/or the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), as well as the FAA.


Any submissions involving RF-based UAS detection capabilities or data, as well as any other technologies that function in a similar manner, and any submissions involving mitigation capabilities, will be subject to further review by the FAA’s Office of the Chief Counsel and the submission may be returned to the sponsor for further revision or rejected for participation in this project in order to ensure all project activities are within the scope of the FAA’s statutory authority and mission.


Technologies identified for use in a specific flight campaign will require FAA review and approval. Therefore, we expect a lead time of six months between requesting your technology for a specific flight campaign and the actual test event.


If your team is interested in participating in this research, please contact uaf-acuasi@alaska.edu with the subject line ‘A60 Vendor Interest‘ and our team will respond to you with more details about how to apply. 

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