Research & Science
February 1, 2017

The projected expansion of SUAS operations in the U.S. has motivated the examination into how these aircraft will “see and be seen” by other aircraft operating in the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS). One proposal is that the SUAS use a system compatible with aviation, such as the Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) surveillance service. This analysis intends to highlight the impact on the Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) ADS-B system performance from a shared-use operation by SUAS. The purpose is to examine various operational scenarios and estimate UAT’s ability to continue to support existing air traffic management air-to-air and air-to-ground applications. The study extended prior research and examined a multitude of scenarios from low to high stress cases. The analysis indicates the key parameters are SUAS ADS-B transmission power and SUAS traffic density. These two parameters can be balanced to attain an acceptable demand on the UAT in areas of potentially high SUAS concentration while still providing safety and utility to all aircraft.