Finland’s new commercial unmanned air vehicle test range has been increased in size to total 11,000km2 (4,250 miles2) of territory north of the Arctic circle, ahead of a commencement of operations later this month.

The range, being developed by UAV launch specialist Robonic, has already secured its first customer, says managing director Juha Moisio. He declines to identify the user, but reveals that it will perform a seven-day series of flight operations in mid-June.

The significant increase in available range airspace follows the conclusion of negotiations with Finnish regulators, who had initially indicated that they would approve an allocation in the order of 1,200km2.

“The range is now half the size of Belgium and, to the best of our knowledge, appears to be the largest purely commercial UAV flightspace in the world,” says Moisio. The underutilisation of airspace in the far north of Finland enabled the increase, he adds.

Source: Flight International