AFWERX integrates uncrewed traffic management to enhance safety and security Published June 29, 2023 By Tim Tresslar AFWERX AFWERX and the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate have installed an Uncrewed Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Equipping Eglin’s Duke Field with the Collaborative Low-Altitude UAS Integration Effort (CLUE) is the next step in AFWERX verifying that current air traffic management systems can ensure complete safety as drones and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft take flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res “Airspace management will play a key role for the future of air mobility and technologies like drones, eVTOLs, etc.,” said Darshan Divakaran, AFWERX’s head of airspace innovation and Prime partnerships. “To promote technological advancements, we cannot compromise on safety. AFWERX Prime is focusing on collaborating with other agencies to ensure we can accelerate the future of air mobility in a safe and secure manner.” Maj. Mike Corson (left), 418th Flight Test Squadron commander, and Capt. Terrence McKenna, AFWERX Agility Prime test and experimentation lead, perform a pre-flight check on a Joby S4 aircraft. The Joby S4 is a five-seat electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. (Courtesy photo) Photo Details / Download Hi-Res “Eglin is going to be one of our primary proving ground location for multiple efforts across AFWERX Prime, including airspace efforts supporting Agility Prime and Autonomy Prime,” Divakaran said “Our focus will be to have situational awareness up to 12,000 feet mean sea level. We will have additional proving ground locations across the nation in partnership with agencies such as the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation and NASA. We are also focusing on true public-private partnerships as we accelerate these efforts.” Phil Zaleski, CLUE program manager, oversaw the CLUE system’s installation at Duke Field. Additionally, AFRL/RI has provided a field service representative at the field to manage the system on a daily basis and provide training and demonstrations, Zaleski said. Once the system was set up, AFWERX was able to demonstrate its capabilities with a drone simulator. “During the demonstration, the CLUE system was able to track two to three simulated uncrewed systems operating in their designated airspace along with live, manned air traffic,” said Brooke Ezell, AFWERX Prime program manager. “This provided a really helpful picture for how manned and uncrewed air traffic can co-exist safely.” AFWERX Photo Details / Download Hi-Res About AFRL Sole organization leading the planning & execution of USAF & USSF science & technology programs. Orchestrates a world-wide government, industry & academia coalition in the discovery, development & delivery of a wide range of revolutionary technology. Provides leading-edge warfighting capabilities keeping air, space and cyberspace forces the world's best. Employs 10,800 military, civilian, and contractor personnel at 17 research sites executing an annual $4B budget. For more information, visit: www.afresearchlab.com. About AFWERX The innovation arm of the DAF and a directorate within the Air Force Research Laboratory brings cutting edge American ingenuity from small businesses and start-ups to address the most pressing challenges of the DAF. Employs approximately 215 military, civilian and contractor personnel at five hubs and sites executing an annual $1.4B budget. Since 2019, has executed 4,671 contracts worth more than $2B to strengthen the U.S. defense industrial base and drive faster technology transition to operational capability. For more information, visit: www.afwerx.com.