The Pendleton UAS Test Range, part of the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex, has begun testing on the ArcticShark--a revolutionary new unmanned aircraft system designed to collect atmospheric data in the arctic. The UAS has a 22ft wingspan, a gross takeoff weight of 625 lbs, a maximum altitude of 15,000 feet, and a maximum flight speed of 75 mph.
To be owned by the U.S. Department of Energy and managed by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility, a DOE national scientific user facility, the ArcticShark will eventually be equipped with more than a dozen different instruments designed to record the most sophisticated measurements ever gathered about Earth’s atmosphere and thus help scientists better understand one of the most sensitive regions of the planet.
The past year has been a concentrated effort by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Wash., which manages the ARM Facility, ArgenTech Solutions (AgTS), Pendleton UAS Range, and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks to obtain Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight approvals and build the concept of operations for ArcticShark. “We are pleased to provide program development, flight approval expertise and safe operations support to PNNL for their Class D operations. We are paving the way for the evolving integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the National Airspace System (NAS) and we’re pleased to be assisting in those test objectives,” stated Jen Armstrong, vice president AgTS Commercial Services.
The aircraft will begin arctic field research in Alaska in 2018.