Unmanned Aircraft Systems


Government, industry and commerce are becoming ever more aware of the benefits of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). In this context, companies and governments need legal and commercial advisers who recognise the challenges and have the skills and experience to help deliver their UAS strategies successfully.

Bird & Bird’s specialist UAS team operates across our 28 offices worldwide and has a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the UAS industry.

At a time when regulations relating to UAS are being developed across the globe, our team is in a position to assist companies involved in UAS activities in their understanding and application of these regulations. As the leading regulation law firm in Europe, advising airlines, manufacturers, investors, service companies and suppliers on all relevant regulation from air traffic management to data protection risk management, we understand certification and licensing of UAS including their operation, land based pilot licenses, the general regulatory framework, air space division and segregation at national level and third party liability for damages.

We have close relationships with various regulators including CAA, ICAO, NATO, Eurocontrol, EU, EASA, ESA, and national bodies including ANSP’s, industry and trade organisations such as UAVS, UVS, Fédération Professionnelle du Drone Civil (FPDC) and standardisation bodies including EuroUSC, ITU, ETSI.

Our objective is to use our knowledge and experience to understand the issues faced by our clients quickly and effectively and then to provide practical and commercially realistic advice and support. We take pride in helping our clients to reach sensible, workable solutions on a wide range of transactions and ventures which are often at the cutting-edge of UAS business and legal developments. As well as their military applications we understand the huge variety of civil applications for UAS including areas such as (environmental) crisis and disaster management, border/ immigration control on both land and sea, law enforcement (such as zoning or subsidies for agriculture), traffic surveillance, crowd control and scientific applications (such as weather, or earth observation).

Our international UAS team is supported by our expert lawyers across the firm specialising in issues such as: space and satellite communications, intellectual property, export controls, data protection and procurement, as well as our commercial, corporate and dispute resolution groups.

We believe that our industry knowledge and experience allows us not only to understand our clients but to empathise with the issues and concerns they may have. Our expertise and industry knowledge give us the best possible platform upon which to build long term relationships with our clients, and we provide our clients with service enhancements which are designed to add tangible value to our relationship with them.

We seek out areas of innovation where there are new skills to learn and new problems to be dealt with. Bird & Bird run a series for interest groups including:

  • UAS Legal, Regulatory and Commercial Interest Group that has had a number of meetings with industry leaders to brainstorm novel issues.
  • Aerospace, Defence and Security Breakfast which are industry recognised monthly events aimed at leading individuals working in the defence industry to learn and debate topical industry insights and hear from influential guest speakers.
  • European Aerospace & Defence Legal Counsel Forum which acts as a source of understanding of the latest major issues relevant to legal counsel in the sector. 
If you are interested in any of these groups please contact Paul Briggs.

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