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There is a growing realization in Europe that its timetable for licensing UAVs to fly within urban areas for homeland security missions has to be shortened.
The Civil Aviation organizations in Europe have been discussing the right method for approving UAV missions for Police and Homeland Security for several years now. The European Defence Agency (EDA) has conducted many studies and discussion forums on the way UAVs should operate n the public airspace in Europe. This is a very sensitive issue because the regions of Europe are dense in proximity. In addition, these air spaces are coordinated by the central body of the Euro Control Supervisor, where there is resistance to allow free operation of UAVs. Resistance to approval has not changed even though it has been stated that UAVs will be equipped with IFF systems which would allow complete identification of each UAV.
However, the growing needs and pressures of the various emergency agencies involved in the approval process have begun to take effect. An Israeli source participating in the ongoing discussions on the subject currently taking place in Europe has informed I-HLS that there is a ‘positive movement.’
France, which has received purchased UAVs, has gained limited permission to operate them within civilian airspace. They are currently classified as military UAVs, but there is an increasing tendency to understand the special needs of HLS. The business arena also feels the positive shift and it seems that new European UAV operations companies have been established to perform homeland security and civil operations.
An i-HLS source has told our correspondent in Europe, Arie Egozi, that it is clear that the sky will be opened for UAV civil and homeland security missions. The only question which remains is whether the approvals will be received now or in a few or so months.