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FAA Offers Funding for UAS Test Site Partnerships

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is seeking to partner with commercial companies that will match the agency’s $6 million pledge to perform unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) integration-related work at the federal drone test sites.

In a broad agency announcement issued today, the FAA says applicants must be able to match the federal funds they request through this program. A company has to demonstrate an existing contractual relationship with or show that FAA funding would enable it to enter into a contract with a test site. As laid out by the FAA, companies must have the technical capability to work on projects such as geo-fencing, sense-and-avoid capabilities, nighttime operations, operations over people, flights beyond the visual line of sight, UAS traffic management, the operation of multiple UAS at once, and more.

“The FAA intends to bridge the gap between industry and the test sites to tackle some of our most difficult technical and operational challenges,” said Dan Elwell, the FAA’s acting administrator, at the FAA UAS Symposium today in Baltimore.

The application process has two steps. Step 1 is a white paper package, due by June 28. If that package is accepted, a full proposal must be submitted by July 31. The FAA expects to award contracts by Sept. 30.

The funding for the partnership was mandated and provided by Congress in the FAA’s Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019.

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