Address: Camino de Herrera s/n

City: 23300 Villacarrillo (Jaén)

Contact: Francisco Alarcón(

Who we are

The ATLAS Center is the first civilian flight center in Spain dedicated entirely to the experimentation of unmanned aircraft technologies and systems UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System). These facilities consist of pioneering and unique infrastructures in Europe, being the first specifically designed and created for use as a research and validation center for this type of aircraft. It is, therefore, a strategic project for the Andalusian and Spanish aerospace sector, which has placed it at the forefront in one of the sectors in which research and development of new technologies, both military and civilian, is being most focused at international level. In this way, since its opening in 2014, the ATLAS center boosts the industrial activity on UAS that, in an increasingly growing way, is being developed in Andalusia and Spain through the most important companies and entities of the aeronautical sector.

Since its inauguration, ATLAS has hosted more than 1,200 operations with more than 80 different clients and has achieved several milestones both nationally and internationally. The main lines of work through which ATLAS has become a worldwide reference are:

    • Long distance military and civilian campaigns with tactical UAS: A segregated airspace of 1000km2 and over a sparsely populated area allows to mitigate the risks of the operation, which added to the climate and confidentiality provided by its location, give the center unique capabilities for these campaigns.

    • Urban Air Mobility (UAM)
      Urban Air Mobility (UAM): Having large ground areas with controllable access has allowed us to obtain the first permits in Spain for flight campaigns related to the UAM sector.

    • High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS)
      High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS): The remote location, the characteristics of the airspace and the weather conditions, especially those related to wind, have made ATLAS a recurring site for several of the most important companies in this sector.

    • U-space, 5G lab and research projects.
      : Since 2020, ATLAS has hosted more than 25 projects related to U-space, 5G technology, GNSS and any type of research related technology.

Location and airspace

ATLAS is located at Villacarrillo (Jaén)The climate in this enclave is privileged, which allows for more than 300 operational days per year and an ideal airspace and orography for the development of experimental flights. Its facilities have a segregated airspace with an extension of more than 1,000 km2 up to 5,000 feet above sea level. It is also located in a sparsely populated area, where olive plantations abound. These characteristics, both on the ground and in the air, intrinsically provide the center with excellent mitigation for air operations, giving them greater safety, which, on the one hand, makes it easier to obtain flight permits and, on the other, makes it an ideal center for carrying out R&D and flight testing activities.

In addition, ATLAS has the possibility of making use of the Beas aerodrome, which is located 25 km from ATLAS and has a runway of 1.5 km, further expanding the operational capabilities that can be experienced.



The test center has the necessary facilities to operate as such in a safe, documented and efficient manner. These facilities are:

  • Operations tower: This building is intended for the planning and monitoring of air missions carried out at the center and has different rooms and technical services linked to such activity, including:
    • Control tower with primary radar and ADS-B
    • Communications and aeronautical radio room
    • Boardroom/briefing room, meeting rooms, offices and work rooms overlooking the runway.

  • Track and operation zones
    ATLAS is provided with different tracks for a specific purpose:

    • Main runway: 600 meters long and 18 meters wide, completely asphalted and signposted with the pertinent indications for the development of aerial tests.
    • Taxiway and preparation platform for aircraft performing flight test activities at ATLAS.
    • 70×40 m diaphanous asphalted area for the assembly of specific scenarios for research.
    • Emergency landing zone: 60×60 meters asphalted area at the 07 headland for emergency landings or critical maneuvers.
  • Hangars: ATLAS has two independent hangars with a surface area of 300 square meters (25×12 meters), used for aircraft parking and maintenance. In addition to this space, the facilities include offices and maintenance and repair workshops, as well as other infrastructures for logistical and technical support. They are equipped with pneumatic installations and allow high power equipment (up to 125 A).

  • Aerial view
    Although the center has been increasing its infrastructure and equipment, in the following link you will find an interactive aerial view that allows you to visualize the environment and the existing facilities of the center in 2014 after its inauguration: INTERACTIVE AERIAL VIEW


  • Primary RadarThe control tower has a solid-state S-band Doppler radar that provides full ground-level surveillance coverage up to 20,000 feet with a range of more than 35 km, functioning as a multipurpose sensor for simultaneous aircraft detection, alerting and tracking. This system also receives information from transponders and has access to an interface that allows all users of the center to view its measurements.

  • Aeronautical Radio
    TCAS and ADS-B.

  • Weather station
    Weather station: A weather station with accurate measurements of the main weather conditions (temperature, pressure, wind speed and direction, etc.) is available. The measurements can be viewed in real time via a web viewer and are stored in case they are required by the customer.

  • 5G node and others
    ATLAS is the first flight center to have a dedicated 5G node in the 3700Mhz band for its operations. There is also a 4G/LTE node in 1800Mhz band, and a 3G NODE in 900Mhz band.

  • Customized network infrastructures
    ATLAS has a network infrastructure that allows the creation of customized topologies for different customers (VPNs, dedicated access points, etc.). Wireless connection is available throughout the center and airside.

  • Safe charging and storage centers for batteries or gases/fuels:
    Several insulated centers with and without temperature control are available for charging or storage of batteries or gases/fuels, which increase safety at the facility.

  • Vehicle and specific equipment for emergencies
    A 4×4 vehicle prepared for all types of emergencies and fire extinguishing is available, together with specific equipment to help emergency teams respond (UAS with thermal cameras, different types of fire extinguishers, etc.).

Services offered