Textron Systems Unmanned Systems, a Textron Inc. business, has announced the grand opening of its new unmanned aircraft system (UAS) training and maintenance facility, the Unmanned Systems Service & Support Center, in Blackstone, Va.
With assistance from Virginia Tech’s Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, as well as UAV Pro, Textron Systems is moving its training and service facility from its original location in Fort Pickett, Va., to this larger center.
Located on the Allen C. Perkinson Airport/Blackstone Army Airfield taxiway, the new 14,700-square-foot facility will span across two buildings and expand Textron Systems’ space by approximately 1,700 square feet.
The new building includes three classrooms with capacity for 12 students in each, as well as two simulator rooms that can operate up to 12 total flight simulators. The facilities also include an engine test cell and air vehicle test cell, along with space for air vehicle assembly, composite and engine maintenance, repair, and operations. The new facilities also have access to the airport for UAS operations directly outside the facility doors. The hub also supports research on UAS integration through the company’s federal authorizations to fly the Aerosonde small UAS and Shadow M2.
Additionally, says Textron, the buildings have an expandable and modular design that allows for growth with business and product changes.
“The grand opening of a larger Unmanned Systems Service & Support Center is important to us because the UAS industry is growing, and we are excited to expand our location to accommodate this growth,” says Bill Irby, Textron Systems’ unmanned system senior vice president and general manager. “With this expansion, we have the opportunity to train more operators, maintain additional UAS and continue our research on integrating UAS into national airspace.”