Unifly, a leader in UAS Traffic Management (UTM) solutions, showcased the progress and preliminary results of the NAVISP EL3-23: “SecureUTM” project at the Belgian National Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Workshop on June 19. Hosted by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and the European Space Agency (ESA), this workshop convened industry leaders and technical experts to discuss the latest advancements in PNT solutions. The SecureUTM project, part of the Navigation Innovation and Support Program (NAVISP) funded by ESA, aims to develop a cyber certification scheme for UTM systems. 

As Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) gain importance, particularly for beyond-visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) missions, their integration into manned airspace presents cybersecurity challenges due to high automation levels. The SecureUTM project addresses these by proposing a cyber certification scheme for UTM systems in the EU, ensuring compliance with regulations and cybersecurity standards. The project aims to design, develop, and deploy a UTM system compliant with this proposed certification scheme and is divided into two phases: the Technology (Step 1) and the Product Phase (Step 2). 

As Step 1 nears completion, Unifly and Nexova presented the preliminary results at the PNT Workshop, including stakeholder feedback, regulatory analyses, the establishment of the cyber certification scheme, and a gap analysis. A secure proof of concept (PoC) for Belgian airspace has been developed by implementing identified mitigation measures, enhancing Unifly’s UTM to meet the project’s stringent security standards. A validation exercise is currently being performed by comparing a non-secured version with a secured version containing mitigation actions by executing attack scenarios. These findings are being compiled into a validation report. In parallel, discussions are started to define the concrete outline of Step 2. 

These preliminary results represent significant strides in developing a secure and certified UTM system. Moving forward, the project findings will be used for further research and development within the NAVISP program, including the implementation of a pilot program for a secure Belgian UTM with rigorous validation trials. This pioneering effort ensures safe and secure drone operations within European airspace and sets a precedent for future UTM developments by proposing a robust cyber certification scheme. 

"This initiative underscores our commitment to pioneering solutions that enable the seamless integration of drones while ensuring the highest standards of safety and security,” shared Andres Van Swalm, CEO of Unifly.