The seven PNUASFC test ranges, with highly diverse topology and climates, were selected to meet the priority FAA research goals and objectives related to integration of UAS into the national airspace. PNUASFC efforts will address the major obstacles to the integration of UAS into the National Airspace System. Additionally, the diversity of each range, from open ocean, to arid desert, to high mountain terrain, will provide for a variety of secondary research objectives, ranging from emergency response/fire/search and rescue, to propulsion system development and testing, to environmental monitoring and border patrol. Of note, all seven ranges have seasonal icing conditions that would support icing countermeasures testing.
KMWH Class D/Simulated Class C Airspace Interoperability UAS Test Range, centered at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, provides the controlled airspace required for critical sense and avoid capabilities testing, and ATC interoperability of small-to-large size UAS in a simulated Class C airspace. This test range provides over 330 days a year of VFR operation in varying climate conditions—truly an all-seasons test range.
KMWH Local UAS Test Range provides ample space and altitude ceiling for UAS reliability testing of small-to-midsize UAS, as well as sense and avoid capability. The climate is identical to that of KMWH Class D/Simulated Class C Airspace Interoperability UAS Test Range. The range is located within KMWH Class D airspace, out of runway traffic patterns and within visual range of the tower.
Lower Eastern UAS Test Range, located near the Wilson Creek airport, provides the rural airspace needed for testing of sense and avoid operations, as well as testing of communications systems required for successful operation within Class C airspace. This range is thus the proving area prior to operation in the KMWH Class D/Simulated Class C Airspace Interoperability Test Range. Accommodating small-to-large size UAS with a climate similar to KMWH ranges, this range has a set loitering area and direct launch and recovery from within the range or the adjacent Wilson Creek (5W1) Airport. The range includes a variety of terrain, with agriculture, desert, flatlands, ravines, and fresh water bodies.
Upper Eastern UAS Test Range is located in the northern section of the Roosevelt A&B MOA, supporting testing of small-to-large size UAS in climate conditions that range from semi-arid in the summer to heavy snow in the winter. This expansive range, with an altitude ceiling at the edge of Class A airspace, can support UAS reliability and high-speed supersonic testing at high altitudes and in diverse weather conditions, as well as dedicated protected spectrum testing. Loitering area(s) will be established test-by-test, based upon individual research requirements and split range operations. Range terrain, with forests, flatlands, mountainous terrain, ravines, canyons, and fresh water bodies.
Pacific Coast UAS Test Range, located close to Grays Harbor, provides open-ocean maritime testing in an area known for high precipitation and high humidity. It will allow testing of small to large UAS, including aircraft certification standards for UAS seaplanes and maritime launch and recovery.
Southern (Dallesport) UAS Test Range, located at the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport, provides an airport location for pattern work at low altitudes in support of UAS system reliability testing. The arid climate here is similar to the two KMWH test ranges.
Yakima UAS Test Range supports aircraft standards, providing the required restricted airspace (R-6714A) to safely test and evaluate UAS prior to being qualified for a COA for testing on other ranges. This includes flight up to FL290, in an arid climate similar to that of the two KMWH test ranges.