Unmanned Drones To Be Tested In Indiana Airspace

Indiana is bringing unmanned drones to the state for testing, as a part of a plan to market the state’s defense operations more aggressively throughout the U.S.

Indiana’s National Center for Complex Operation, which was established at the beginning of this year,uses the state’s military bases to test military equipment and technology that before it is put into practice.

The NCCO announced Tuesday it is pairing up with its first customer, BAE Systems. The company says it intends to use Indiana airspace to test the unmanned drones it produces. It will also use the state’s academic resources to create safety plans for its equipment.

NCCO Executive Director of Matthew Konkle says BAE chose Indiana because the state’s urban training centers can replicate real-life scenarios, and it’s cost efficient.

“The NCCO creates greater efficiencies for our customers in ways of testing training and evaluation which makes our cost some of the lowest in the nation,” he says.

Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman says partnerships like the one with BEA could boost the state’s economy and make Indiana a larger player in the nation’s defense industry.

“This is the first real contract that the NCCO has landed so I think we’ve only just scratched the surface of the opportunity we have in the future,” she says.

Konkle says unmanned systems and robotics are predicted to become a $95 billion industry in the next eight years. He says Indiana has the potential to gain about 10 percent of that market.

This story first appeared on the Indiana Public Media website. 

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