Air Force agreement aims to reduce UAS noise pollution

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio. The Air Force Research Laboratory 711th Human Performance Wing/Airman Systems Directorate/Battlespace Acoustics Branch and composite-systems company Owens Corning have entered into a cooperative research and development agreement to develop and understand best practices for measuring and labeling the sound produced by small unmanned aerial systems (UASs).

Under the agreement, Owens Corning will measure the acoustic characteristics of UAS platforms in its acoustic laboratory, while the  will provide open-air characterization at its White Sands Missile Range site in New Mexico. The results obtained from the joint research will be used to develop a national standard that may include measuring and labeling newly developed acoustic materials and structures and defining manufacturing specifications for key technologies.

The Department of Defense () uses different UAS platforms to perform military functions, while commercial entities use UASs such activities as agriculture and forestry management, cellular tower inspection, and landfill monitoring. Given the expected growth in the use of UASs, it is feared that they could become a source of sound pollution. To combat the noise factor, researchers at AFRL are working to develop sound regulations to avoid what could become a critical issue for the public.

Topics covered in this article