The Department of Homeland Security has chosen a Mississippi State University-led partnership to advance research and development work on small unmanned aerial systems.
The Mississippi Partnership will also oversee a sUAS demonstration facility in the state for DHS' science and technology directorate to support flight exercises and assessment of drones in various scenarios such as border protection and disaster relief missions, MSU said Thursday.
MSU will collaborate with NASA's Stennis Space Center, Mississippi Air National Guard's Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Harbor Commission, Hancock County Port, Jackson County Port of Authority and Mississippi National Guard's Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center under the Mississippi Partnership.
DHS selected the partnership after it reviewed the proposal through a competitive evaluation process.
The new range facility will use approximately 2,000 square miles of restricted airspace to demonstrate small drones at up to 60,000 feet in altitude and is set to be operational by the fall of 2017.
Dallas Brooks, director of MSU's Raspet flight research laboratory, will head the demonstration range team.
“Mississippi has a number of unique assets that facilitate unmanned aircraft test flights that aren't found in many other places, and we can fly year round,“ Brooks said.