Mike Turner has successfully won inclusion of language in the FY11 National Defense Authorization Act to secure support for a potential unmanned aerial vehicle testing range in Southwest Ohio.
The House Armed Services Committee approved Rep. Turner’s amendment, which directs the Secretary of Defense to report on opportunities to use the Sensors Center of Excellence at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) to integrate unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace system. A vote by the full House of Representatives is expected this week.
Rep. Turner’s language encourages the Department of Defense to work with the Air Force and the FAA to develop procedures to safely integrate UAV’s into the nation’s airspace. This includes the development of “sense and avoid” procedures and technologies at WPAFB.
As part of the sense and avoid research at WPAFB, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has identified the Wilmington Air Park as a potential test and development site for this technology. AFRL has also looked at the Buckeye and Brush Creek Military Operating Areas as potential locations for flight testing of UAV to demonstrate, detect, sense, and avoid technologies. Language included by Rep. Turner in the report accompanying the bill directs the Secretary of Defense to review these opportunities to maximize the Sensors Center of Excellence.
“The Air Force Research Lab is the natural place to locate this research program, and the Wilmington area offers an ideal test and development site,” said Rep. Turner. “We have the personnel, the know-how, the capacity and the technology to accomplish this mission; now is the time to begin the process of locating this program by asking the Air Force and the FAA to work together in its development, Rep. Turner continued.”
The Sensors Center of Excellence was established by the Base Closing and Realignment Commission in 2006 and consists of various radars and technologies being consolidated at WPAFB and throughout Southwest Ohio. Congressman Turner is a senior member of the Armed Services Committee and Ranking member of its sub-committee on Strategic Forces. He worked to secure the Sensors Center of Excellence in the 2006 BRAC.