Statement: Spectrum for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
- Start: 10 June 2022
- Status: Statement published
- End: 05 September 2022
We have decided to introduce a new UAS Operator Radio licence to authorise the use of radio equipment on drones. The authorisation of this equipment is an enabler for drones to be operated beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). The licence authorises a range of equipment that an operator may choose to use or be required to carry by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The UAS Operator Radio licence will:
- Cover all drones a company or individual operates in the UK and territorial waters but does not cover international flights.
- Have an indefinite duration, subject to the payment of an annual licence fee of £75.
- Authorise a range of specific radio equipment that may be needed for future drone operations, including beacons and safety equipment that may be mandated by the CAA. The list of equipment will be kept under review and, subject to consultation, will be updated to reflect changes in technology or the overarching air safety framework.
- Permit the use of satellite and mobile technologies while requiring the specific agreement of the network operator(s). No transmission will be permitted in the 2.6 GHz band.
This licence does not replace the current licence exemption regime for low power 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz equipment which most drones on the market currently fall under.
This licence authorises spectrum use in accordance with the licence terms and conditions. Drone operators will continue to need to adhere to any air safety requirements and other regulations regarding the operation of their UAS set by the CAA, the UK’s aviation regulator.
We have noticed a slight error in Table 1 (p25) and the same corresponding table in the Table in Schedule 2 of the proposed licence (p37). For the 1800 MHz band the frequency listed in the document was 1710 to 1785 MHz & 1805 to 1880 MHz however, this should have been 1710 to 1781.7 MHz & 1805 to 1876.7 MHz. The original frequency listed in the tables would have given the impression that we were going to permit UAS to use frequencies allocated at a local level to Shared Access licensees in the 1781.7 – 1785 & 1876.7-1880 MHz band. This is not the case due to the potential risk of interference between users. We have now corrected these figures in the tables.
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