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Sun, Nov 18, 2012

Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland Join In UAS Test Venture

Coalition Formed To Assist In Search For Test Site

The Governors of Virginia, New Jersey and Maryland have agreed to work together to pursue a test site designation from the FAA for the integration of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into the national airspace. Through legislation passed earlier this year, the FAA was authorized by Congress to develop a comprehensive plan for UAS integration and designate test ranges where certification, flight standards and air traffic control requirements for civil UAS can be tested.

“The National Defense Authorization Act and FAA Modernization and Reform Act signed early this year authorize the FAA to work with the Secretary of Defense, NASA and others to plan for the integration of unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace, and assess the results of test sites to increase the progress of integrating unmanned systems,” said Matt Scassero, Executive Director of the newly-formed Mid-Atlantic Unmanned Aerial Systems Coalition (MAUASC). “The agreement between Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey represents a comprehensive approach to an efficient and effective testing process and integration.”

The MAUASC focuses the efforts of a breadth of capabilities resident in numerous installations and facilities across the three state region, including NASA Wallops and Langley, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, New Jersey Air National Guard Warren Grove Range, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren and the Army Aberdeen Test Center. Universities and other education and research facilities also play an important role, represented by the National Institute of Aerospace, the University of Maryland, Rutgers University and others.

“A sector that will be a crucial part of our strategy now and going forward is our industry partners,” Scassero continued. “DoD and Homeland Security have led the development and fielding of unmanned aerial systems up to now, but the future market is dominated by the potential commercial users. Industry is poised to make that leap, and we want to include them in our progress.”

The Mid-Atlantic Unmanned Aerial Systems Coalition is a coalition of Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey state governments which established a research site to use Mid-Atlantic facilities and resources to develop and test UAS capabilities to safely integrate those systems into the national airspace system.

FMI: www.paxpartnership.org

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