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RIMPAC 2022 maritime exercise to use Vigilant’s FlightHorizon for UAS

A demonstration airspace management system is playing a role during the military exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022, taking place in Hawaii and Southern California.

FlightHorizon COMMANDER, provided by Vigilant Aerospace to the U.S. Air Force, is an airspace management and detect-and-avoid system based on two licensed NASA patents. The system can be used on the ground or onboard aircraft and is designed to help keep unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) safe and collision free.

For the first time, U.S. Air Force MQ-9 UAS — also known as a Reaper — is taking part in a RIMPAC exercise. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise, involving more than 40 ships, 30 UAS and 150 aircraft from 27 partner nations.

RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971. The 2022 exercise takes place from late June to early August.

The FlightHorizon COMMANDER demonstration system (non-U.S. Air Force) tracks air traffic in Hawaii in 2022. (Photo: Vigilant Aerospace)

The FlightHorizon COMMANDER demonstration system (non-U.S. Air Force) tracks air traffic in Hawaii in 2022. (Photo: Vigilant Aerospace)

FlightHorizon COMMANDER includes a 3D moving map display for air traffic situational awareness, air navigation charts, weather data, special features for the tracking and safety of uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) and automatic detect-and-avoid functions.

The airspace management system correlates and displays air traffic and other data from a wide variety of sources including ground-based and airborne sensors, civilian air traffic data, military data and proprietary data sources. The dual-use technology provides automatic traffic warnings and deconfliction as a built-in function.

The product is based on two licensed NASA patents and has been used in ongoing NASA supersonic projects, in FAA detect-and-avoid projects, and in civilian UAS projects around flight corridors and drone ports.

“RIMPAC 2022 marks the first appearance of the MQ-9A Reaper, a remotely piloted aircraft, and its presence brought in military teams from California, New Mexico and Nevada,” the Air Force stated. “With personnel from both the active-duty element, Reserves and Air National Guard, the collective group ensures that it is fully operational. All the while, everyone learns new techniques that it will take to improve their day-to-day operations upon returning home.”

“Vigilant Aerospace is thrilled to support this large-scale exercise,” said Kraettli L. Epperson, CEO of Vigilant Aerospace. “Support of this exercise is an especially useful demonstration of the multi-sensor and multi-data source capabilities of FlightHorizon and the ability to track hundreds of targets simultaneously.”

Vigilant Aerospace holds a U.S. Department of Defense IDIQ to support military adoption of the system for UAS and airspace safety.

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