Prominent visit to HCA Airport: Boeing moves in to showcase tomorrow's drone technology

One of aviation's heavyweights is moving in when aircraft manufacturer Boeing's drone business takes over HCA Airport in Odense from 4 to 14 October.

An international consortium of companies, including Boeing's drone subsidiary Insitu, is due to unveil a new high-tech surveillance system, IRSA - comprising drones, satellites, aircraft and submarines - for remote monitoring of the Arctic in mid-October.

"At Insitu, we are both very excited about returning to HCA Airport and about our collaboration with the other project partners to promote the IRSA project at ArcticX21. Drones and unmanned aircraft will form a critical layer of the IRSA project's Arctic monitoring system, and we are proud that our ScanEagle and Integrator systems have the range, endurance and payload to perform that role. We are grateful for the excellent support we have experienced from HCA Airport and UAS Denmark, and it is great to feel Denmark's strong focus on drone technology," said Dave Funkhouser, Insitus Director of International Business Development.

'A stamp of approval for the airport'

As geopolitical awareness of the Arctic grows, the Danish authorities want to strengthen their presence and surveillance in the Arctic. Therefore, in February 2021, the Danish Parliament allocated DKK 1.5 billion to increase surveillance in the area through investments in high-tech, unmanned systems.

It is just such a system that will be presented at the ArcticX2021 exercise in October. In addition to Boeing, the IDG consortium includes companies such as C-Core, Viasat and Danish MDSI.

"The fact that the test centre is attracting such high-profile companies confirms that the unique facilities we have are also attracting attention abroad. It is an endorsement of UAS Denmark Test Center's position as one of the leading in the Nordic region and is of great importance for the airport, Odense and the entire strong drone technology environment," says Peter Rahbæk Juel (S), Mayor of Odense.

"You won't find anywhere else in Scandinavia where there are such good opportunities to test fly drones in civilian airspace. HCA Airport's combination of location, facilities and know-how is truly ideal," adds Morten Andersen (V), Mayor of Nordfyn Municipality.

Danish company is involved

The Danish high-tech company MDSI - which develops technology for the integration of different kinds of mission systems for both manned and unmanned aircraft - is part of the IDG consortium, and it calls the choice of UAS Denmark Testcenter and HCA Airport an obvious one.

"We have been preparing for ArcticX2021 for over a year, and we have had superb and efficient cooperation with UAS Denmark Testcenter and the Danish authorities throughout. Now we are just looking forward to showcasing the technologies and the IRSA consortium's capabilities," says Chief Operations Officer of MDSI, Christian Steinø.

Funen has become a hotspot for drones

In recent years, Funen has built a strong ecosystem in drone and robotics technology and has emerged as one of Scandinavia's leading hotspots for the development of new drone technologies.

A recent analysis from Erhvervshus Fyn from September 2021 shows that the drone industry on Funen has grown by 150 percent since 2017, and that the drone market in general expects strong growth in the coming years.

UAS Denmark Testcenter plays an important role in the development and testing of new drone technologies.

About UAS Denmark Testcenter

As one of the only test centres in Europe, UAS Denmark Testcenter combines an approved BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) airspace extending beyond the North Funen Sea with a fast approval process and drone laboratories. The test centre works closely with the Danish Transport Administration, universities and industry, both nationally and internationally.

The 867 square kilometre airspace includes a BVLOS test area that extends over town, country and an offshore water zone off the North Funen Sea. The area can be used for out-of-sight flights or in-sight flights to test drones, sensors or other systems.

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