The state of Mississippi has joined Alaska, Oregon and Hawaii as a full member in the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)-led Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex (PPUTRC), one of the Federal Aviation Administration’s seven unmanned aircraft system (UAS) test sites.
The Mississippi program will be led by Mississippi State University and will include several UAS test and evaluation sites in the state. MSU is also the lead for the FAA’s UAS Center of Excellence – the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence.
The announcement was made yesterday during the opening of the Alaska UAS Interest Group’s annual meeting in Anchorage.
“This is a significant and strategically important alliance for the unmanned aircraft system sector in Mississippi. It gives academia and industry greater options for developing, testing and evaluating these aircraft,” says U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.
The PPUTRC reports to UAF’s Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration but also includes principal partners in Oregon, Hawaii and now Mississippi, as well as 56 non-state partners globally. Ranges are located in the four states, as well as Iceland.
“We have several ideal locations in Mississippi for UAS testing and evaluation and an all-year flight environment,” adds Robert Moorhead, MSU’s UAS lead on the project. “MSU will be working with UAS manufacturers, users and potential users in the southeast U.S. to support their test and evaluation, science and research, and pre-commercial needs.”