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Letters on UAS Test Range

Letters on UAS Test Range

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Published by Mark Warner

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: Mark Warner on Feb 08, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/08/2012

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tinitcd
~tatcs~cnatc
WASHINGTON,DC20510
February8,2012TheHonorableLeonE.PanettaSecretaryofDefense1000DefensePentagonWashingtonDC,20301-1000DearSecretaryPanetta:AstheDepartmentofDefensepreparestoimplementtheprovisionsintheFY12NationalDefenseAuthorizationActrelatedtotheintegrationofUnmannedAerialSystems(UAS)intothenationalairspacesystem,weencouragetheDepartmenttoconsidertheadvantagesofferedbytheestablishmentofaMid-AtlanticUASTestRangeintheMaryland-Virginiaregion.TheNDAAstipulatesthattheadministratoroftheFederalAviationAdministrationshallestablishaprogramtointegrateUASintothenationalairspacesystematsixUAStestrangeswithin180daysofenactment.Additionally,Section1097oftheNDAArequirestheFAAtocoordinatewithandleveragetheresourcesoftheDepartmentofDefenseandtheNationalAeronauticsandSpaceAdministration,andtoconsiderthelocationofgroundinfrastructureandresearchneeds.ThecongressionalintentofSection1097isclear:Utilizeexistingfacilitiesandrangespace.Thereisnoaccompanyingappropriationtoestablishthisprogram,norshouldtherebebecausethefacilitiesandtestrangesalreadyexist.Theshortperiodoftimetoimplementtheprogramencouragestheuseofexistingandproventestranges,infrastructure,andpersonnel.CongresshasprovidedadditionalguidancewiththerecentpassageoftheFAAModernizationandReformActof2012,whichdirectstheFAAtoprovideUASwithexpandedaccesstothenationalairspacesystembySept.30,2015.WithPresidentObarnaexpectedtosignthatlegislationintolawanyday,selectionoftheseUAStestrangesbecomesevenmoreimportanttoensureweareadequatelypreparedtomeetthegoalsofthisacceleratedtimeline.TheMarylandandVirginiacongressionaldelegations,ourgovernors,and
OUf
communitiesarecollaboratingtohighlightkeycomponentsofaMid-AtlanticTestRangethatsatisfythenewstatutoryprovisions.Specifically,wenotethattheActcallsfortheestablishmentof"testranges,"notmerely"testsites."ExistingAtlantictestrangesoffermorethan2,700squaremilesofFAArestrictedairspace.Anadditional30,000squaremilesofhighlyinstrumentedSpecialUseAirspaceexistovertheAtlanticOcean.Thereisnoreasontocreateadditionalrestrictedairspace,alengthyprocess,ortoconstructadditionalrangeinfrastructure,giventhesignificantinvestmentalreadymadeintheMD-VAregion.Forexample,theNavalAirSystemsCommand'sAtlanticTestRangescommandatPatuxentRiver,MD,alreadycontrol
fully
instrumentedandintegratedtestrangesthatprovidefull-servicesupportforcradle-to-graveaerialtesting.NavalAirStationPatuxentRiverhassupportednearlyeverytypeofUASinservicetoday.
It
regularlyoperatestheGlobalHawk,Shadow,andFirescout.
It
willtestandevaluatetheUnmannedCarrier-LaunchedAirborneSurveillanceandStrike(UCLASS)programleadingtotheNavy'sfirstcarrier-basedfixed-wingUAS.TheNASAWallopsFlightFacilityhas
 
existinginfrastructureincludingaUASrunway,launchrange,anaeronauticalresearchairport,UAShangarspace,andradarfacilities.NASAWallopsandNavalAirStationPatuxentRiveralreadycoordinatejointUASoperationsincontrolledairspacebetweenthetwofacilities.FirescoutoperationsatnearbyWebsterFieldrelyoncutting-edge,sense-and-avoidsystems.TheNASALangleyResearchCenterconductsjointresearchonVASsystemswiththeFAA,andLangleyAirForceBasehasrefinedtheprocessofcollectingsensordatafromUASsystems.Finally,theNationalInstituteofAerospacehaslong-termrelationshipswithmanyofthemosthighlyacclaimedaerospace-relatedacademicinstitutionsacrossthecounty.WeurgeyoutoconsiderthebenefitsofestablishingaMid-Atlantic
VAS
TestRange.Ourregionofferstheworld-classfacilities,supportingsystems,andcontrolledairspacenecessarytosatisfytherequirementsoftheFY12NationalDefenseAuthorizationAct.
In
today'sfiscallyconstrainedbudgetenvironment,theintegrationofourstates'existingfacilitieswilllowertheDepartment'sriskandcostsbyeliminatingtheneedtocreaterestrictedairspaceandtobuildnewinfrastructure.AMid-AtlanticUASTestRangewillmeetthetimelinesestablishedintheActandsatisfytheimperativeofidentifyingqualifiedpersonneltoexecutetheprogramsuccessfully.Additionally,weaskthatyourresponsetothisletterexplainthebasingcriteria,theselectionprocesstheDepartmentwillusetodeterminetheDepartment'sresourcesselectedtosupportthisprogram,andtheDepartment'spointofcontactforthisproject.Thankyouforyourconsiderationofthisrequest.Sincerely,
~&.lt&,""
BarbaraA.MikulskiU.S.SenatorBenjamin
L.
CardinU.S.SenatorMarkWamerU.S.SenatorCC:TheHonorableRaymondH.LaHood,SecretaryofTransportationMr.MichaelPeterHuerta,ActingAdministrator,FederalAviationAdministration
Mr.
Charles
F.
Bolden,Jr.,Administrator,NationalAeronauticsandSpaceAdministration
 
tinitcd
~tetts~cnetc
WASHINGTON,DC20510
February8,2012TheHonorableRaymondH.LaHoodSecretaryofTransportation1200NewJerseyAve,S.E.WashingtonDC,20590-9898DearSecretaryLaHood:AstheFederalAviationAdministrationpreparestoimplementtheprovisionsintheFY12NationalDefenseAuthorizationActrelatedtotheintegrationofUnmannedAerialSystems(UAS)intothenationalairspacesystem,weencourageyoutoconsidertheadvantagesofferedbytheestablishmentofaMid-AtlanticUASTestRangeintheMaryland-Virginiaregion.TheNDAAstipulatesthattheadministratoroftheFederalAviationAdministrationshallestablishaprogramtointegrateUASintothenationalairspacesystematsixUAStestrangeswithin180daysofenactment.Additionally,Section1097oftheNDAArequirestheFAAtocoordinatewithandleveragetheresourcesoftheDepartmentofDefenseandtheNationalAeronauticsandSpaceAdministration,andtoconsiderthelocationofgroundinfrastructureandresearchneeds.ThecongressionalintentofSection1097isclear.Utilizeexistingfacilitiesandrangespace.Thereisnoaccompanyingappropriationtoestablishthisprogram,norshouldtherebebecausethefacilitiesandtestrangesalreadyexist.Theshortperiodoftimetoimplementtheprogramencouragestheuseofexistingandproventestranges,infrastructure,andpersonneLCongresshasprovidedadditionalguidancewiththerecentpassageoftheFAAModernizationandReformActof2012,whichdirectstheFAAtoprovideUASwithexpandedaccesstothenationalairspacesystembySept.30,2015.WithPresidentObamaexpectedtosignthatlegislationintolawanyday,selectionoftheseUAStestrangesbecomesevenmoreimportanttoensureweareadequatelypreparedtomeetthegoalsofthisacceleratedtimeline.TheMarylandandVirginiacongressionaldelegations,ourgovernors,andourcommunitiesarecollaboratingtohighlightkeycomponentsofaMid-AtlanticTestRangethatsatisfynewstatutoryprovisions.Specifically,wenotethattheActcallsfortheestablishmentof"testranges,"notmerely"testsites."ExistingAtlantictestrangesoffermorethan2,700squaremilesofFAArestrictedairspace.Anadditional30,000squaremilesofhighly-instrumentedSpecialUseAirspaceexistovertheAtlanticOcean.Thereisnoreasontocreateadditionalrestrictedairspace,alengthyprocess,ortoconstructadditionalrangeinfrastructure,giventhesignificantinvestmentalreadymadeintheMD-VAregion.Forexample,theNavalAirSystemsCommand'sAtlanticTestRangescommandatPatuxentRiver,MD,alreadycontrolfullyinstrumentedandintegratedtestrangesthatprovidefull-servicesupportforcradle-to-graveaerialtesting.NavalAirStationPatuxentRiverhassupportednearlyeverytypeof
V
ASinservicetoday.Today,FAAaircontrollerscoordinatewithDoDcontrollerstooperateGlobalHawk,Shadow,andFirescout
VAS
inreal-worldoperations.TheNASAWallopsFlightFacilityhas

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