The information presented in this AIR is intended to provide designers of armed unmanned systems with guidelines that may be applied to ensure safe integration and operation of weapons on unmanned platforms. The guidelines have been developed from experiences gained in the design and operation of weapons on manned aircraft that have been accepted by relevant safety authorities in the USA and Europe and proven effective over many years. Whilst the guidelines have been developed from experience with aircraft operations, the concepts are considered equally applicable to non-aircraft systems, such as those used on the surface or undersea environments.
In discussions between SAE ASD committees and customers, it was apparent that there is a lack of common understanding of matters associated with the safety considerations applicable to weapon operation on aircraft. Although numerous safety standards exist, they cover only specific aspects of the subject and there are often misunderstandings on such matters as independence of functions, implementation of safety critical commands and ensuring that adequate safeguards exist where necessary. A short survey of members of AS-1B revealed that there is no single over-arching and comprehensive standardisation or description of the safety features applicable to weapon operation on aircraft, which would facilitate the design and implementation of safe systems.
This situation was made all the more apparent when AS-1B was requested by the JAUS committee (AS-4) for guidance in their work associated with adding weapon operation capabilities to Unmanned Ground Systems, or robots in the first place, with future consideration in Unmanned Aerial Systems.
This standard is intended to provide an overview of the established safety concepts generally employed on manned combat aircraft for safe operation and release of weapons and to provide recommendations for how these principles may be applied to the operation of weapons on other (unmanned) platforms or robots.