SPRINGFIELD, OH- After securing over $10 million in federal funding for the new National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence (NAAMCE), today Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10) participated in the groundbreaking ceremony at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. NAAMCE would be home to research and development opportunities on unmanned drones and electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft programs.
“The National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence will strengthen Ohio’s growing defense industry and create new economic opportunities for the Springfield region,” said Turner. “Securing federal funding to establish NAAMCE over the past 5 years has been a priority of mine in order to bring research and innovation initiatives, such as unmanned aircraft systems, to the Miami Valley. I will continue to work with local and state partners to secure additional resources for new capabilities and programs at the Springfield-Beckley Airport.”
As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Turner began his efforts to bring new defense and research opportunities to the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport more than 4 years ago via the annual National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAA). The airport is home to the Springfield Air National Guard Base.
In the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 NDAA, Turner authored a provision requiring the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) to enhance collaboration to benefit research on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – commonly known as drones - at the airport.
In the FY19 NDAA Turner requested funding to create the NAAMCE under the Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP). These grants were originally designed to address deficiencies in community infrastructure that are supportive of military installations in order to enhance military value, installation resilience, or military family quality of life. The DCIP grants were also targeted to rural communities of less than 50,000 residents.
Funding for the NAAMCE was initially denied for two reasons: competitiveness of other sites in the country based on non-defined grant guidelines of DoD and the existing population cap. Springfield’s approximate population was 59,000 at that time.
In response, Turner used the FY21 NDAA to refine DoD’s funding criteria to place “enhancing military value” at the top priority and expanded the cap on participating rural communities to 100,000 residents. Turner’s modification placed Springfield at a strategic advantage for the competitive grant program the following year that allowed him to secure a $6 million DCIP grant.
In the FY22 NDAA Turner secured an additional $4.7 million in federal funding for the base-wide microgrid at Springfield-Beckley Airport which will provide the infrastructure capabilities needed for the NAAMCE to conduct its operations.
In addition to the $10.7 million in federal funding secured, JobsOhio - a private economic development corporation - plans to support the project through the Ohio Site Inventory Program (OSIP). A multi-million dollar OSIP grant would cover site preparation, utility extensions, an access drive, and parking area for the facilities. The grant is awaiting final approval.
The National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence is expected to be complete by June 2023.