U.S.

May 10, 2013

Mississippi submits proposal for drone test site

Mississippi is bidding for one of six sites nationwide to test unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones.

The state submitted its proposal to the Federal Aviation Administration May 6, according to a Mississippi Development Authority.

State officials say the FAA should choose Mississippi because it has three manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as a flight laboratory at Mississippi State University. Congress has directed the FAA to use test sites to determine how to integrate current air traffic with unmanned vehicles. Today, such drones can only be flown with special permission, and can’t be used for commercial purposes.

“There’s a lot of potential out there for commercial use of unmanned aerial systems,” said Manning McPhillips, the chief administrative officer of the MDA. “This is a huge growth area in the aerospace industry.”

FAA spokesman Les Dorr said 50 sites in 37 states had indicated they would submit proposals. The FAA won’t finance the test, Dorr said, meaning bidders have to find some way to pay. McPhillips said Mississippi can use most of its existing assets at no cost, including airspace at Camp Shelby, Stennis Space Center and Gulf of Mexico test ranges controlled by the Air National Guard Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport.

“The beauty of this is there is no upfront cost to the state,” McPhillips said.

Mississippi State University would collect data from tests and conduct research, said David Shaw, the university’s vice president for research and development. He said research projects could include finding ways to improve communication between ground controllers and aircraft, encrypting control signals to prevent outsiders from hijacking a drone, and studies of how to improve the airworthiness of drones.

MDA officials said Camp Shelby’s more than 10 years of experience in safely operating drones is a big plus for Mississippi’s plan. They also cite the airspace over the Gulf of Mexico and MSU’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory.

The idea is that the state would lay out the welcome mat for researchers who need time and space to fly their craft. Right now, air time in the United States is severely limited, said MDA’s Christine Pate.

“The fact that you can’t test is stymieing this industry that’s getting ready to explode,” she said.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International estimates that the unmanned aircraft industry would create more than 70,000 jobs in the first three years after the FAA allows normal commercial operations.

Today, Mississippi has about 250 jobs in the sector, including Northrop Grumman’s assembly facility in Moss Point, as well as Stark Aerospace and Aurora Flight Sciences at Golden Triangle Regional Airport near Columbus. Another 250 jobs are promised in the next two years, McPhillips said. But officials hope testing would allow them to multiply that figure.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines August 25, 2014

News: U.S. sends second carrier to Asia amid tensions with China - The Navy is sending a second aircraft carrier strike group to the Asia Pacific region amid new tensions with China over a dangerous aerial encounter between a Chinese interceptor and a Navy P-8 surveillance aircraft. SpaceX rocket explodes during test flight - A SpaceX rocket...
 
 

News Briefs August 25, 2014

China says U.S. plane intercept was professional China’s Defense Ministry has rejected U.S. accusations that a Chinese fighter jet conducted a dangerous intercept of a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft off the coast of China in international airspace. The ministry issued a statement Aug. 23 attributed to spokesman Yang Yujun calling the U.S. accusations groundless. It...
 
 

Ukraine plans $3 billion boost to defense spending

KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s president announced plans Aug. 24 to boost his country’s defense spending by an estimated 50 percent as government forces seek to overpower pro-Russian separatists in the east. President Petro Poroshenko pledged to spend an extra 40 billion hryvnia ($3 billion) by 2017 during a speech marking Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet...
 

 

NASA awards research facilities, engineering support services contract

NASA has awarded a contract for research facilities and engineering support services to InuTeq, LLC of Greenbelt, Maryland, in support of the Mission Information and Test Systems Directorate at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. This cost-plus-award-fee contract covers a one-year base period beginning Nov. 1, 2014 and four one-year options, and is valued...
 
 

Navy Awards General Dynamics contract for LCS planning yard services

The U.S. Navy awarded General Dynamics Bath Iron Works a $100 million contract to provide planning yard services for the Littoral Combat Ship program. General Dynamics Bath Iron Works is a business unit of General Dynamics. Bath Iron Works, as the LCS Planning Yard, will provide maintenance and modernization support for all Navy LCS 1...
 
 
boeing-boc

Boeing, BOC Aviation announce order for 82 airplanes

  Boeing announced Aug. 25 an order by BOC Aviation for 50 737 MAX 8s, 30 Next-Generation 737-800s and two 777-300ERs (Extended Range). The order, valued at $8.8 billion at list prices, is the largest in BOC Aviation’...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>