Wicker announces Mississippi chosen as home to new drone test facility

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) led members of Mississippi’s congressional delegation in announcing that Mississippi had been chosen to host a new demonstration range facility for small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS).

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has selected a proposal from the University of Mississippi to house the demonstration range facility for sUAS, which are otherwise known as drones, in Mississippi.

“Mississippi is uniquely suited to assist DHS in leveraging this technology in a way that is cost effective, provides access to unrestricted flight time and is available immediately to support evolving and diverse department missions,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter of support for the proposal in October. “Mississippi has made supporting unmanned technologies a statewide priority and is home to numerous existing UAS operators, manufacturers and researchers.”

Including sites at the Army National Guard’s national UAS training center at Camp Shelby, Stennis Space Center and a Coast Guard facility on Singing River Island, the facility for sUAS demonstration and research will contribute to the nearly 2,000 miles of restricted airspace available for UAS testing at altitudes up to 60,000 feet over land and water.

“We believe our state is well suited to address the department’s requirements for demonstrating small unmanned aircrafts systems,” Wicker and other members of Mississippi’s congressional delegation wrote. “We are committed to continuing to support our state’s efforts to advance capacity and knowledge about how to safely integrate UAS into the National Airspace in a way that contributes to our national security needs.”