Thales’ Watchkeeper has become the first unmanned aircraft to fly in controlled and unsegregated airspace. The flight, overseen by NATS, took place on 30th September and lasted for approximately three and a half hours. News of the event was greeted with delight by Altran’s Intelligent Systems division, which has acted as Thales’ Safety Partner on the Watchkeeper project since its inception and has supported NATS on a number of safety-related projects for over a decade.
Mike Pickering, Head of Defence at Altran UK, commented: “This mark of progress is a testament to the excellent work being carried out by our exemplary team of safety engineers. It is a great privilege to work with Thales on a project that will change the shape of the aviation industry in the coming years.”
The flight comes as key stakeholders, including Thales, CAA, NATS and the MOD, collaborate to safely integrate unmanned air systems into civilian airspace. A second test flight is scheduled to take place next week.
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