UAS research program launched
Dec. 13, 2013
...CAMP SHELBY, Miss. – A program that merges two technology trends was launched
Friday at this sprawling base and could attract companies interested in unmanned
systems to the region, said the executive director of the Open Source Software Institute.
...John Weathersby said economic development opportunities are very likely because of
the program, and especially so with an unmanned aerial systems conference tailored
specifically for the open source software community that’s planned for fall 2014.
..."As a trade association, we look forward to working with Camp Shelby and inviting
commercial entities down to visit and hopefully setting up shop throughout the South
Mississippi Defense Corridor in support of this effort,” said Weathersby.
...The institute, along with the military and Department of Homeland Security, launched
the program that merges two leading technology trends: unmanned vehicle systems and
open source software.
...The Open Source Unmanned Remote and Autonomous Vehicle Systems (OS-URAVS)
program is designed to drive innovation while reducing costs, in part through open source
software -- software whose license agreement grants the user specific rights to access the
human-readable source code and to modify and distribute the software without restriction
or requirement to pay license fees.
...Weathersby said the OS-URAVS program seeks to identify common Open Source
technologies and practices used within various agencies’ unmanned vehicle programs.
...The research program is based at Camp Shelby and administered in conjunction with
the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, DHS, Defense Acquisition University and non-government
entities, including Open Source Software Institute, which has offices in Hattiesburg, Miss.,
and Maryland.
...Col. William “Brad” Smith, commander of the Mississippi National Guard installation
south of Hattiesburg, said Camp Shelby’s size, location, infrastructure, and relationships
with various agencies as a Joint Forces Training Center made this a unique venue for the
OS-URAVS program.
...One of the nation's largest military mobilization bases, and has exclusive access to
nearly 100 square miles of restricted air space and currently operates training and testing
facilities for a variety of government agencies and defense contractors.
...Camp Shelby Joint Training Center is 137,000 acres and has become a key center for
training with unmanned aerial systems. The nation's largest state-owned mobilization
center, Camp Shelby in 20012 was chosen from 19 sites national as the site of a $48
million regional flight center for the Army National Guard's Unmanned Aircraft System.
...National Guard, reserve and active duty soldiers come to the flight center for training
with small unmanned systems like Puma, Raven and Shadow. It has been used by many
tactical unmanned air system units for training prior to overseas deployment. It's also
home to a company of the 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, which has one of the
Army's 30 TUAS units. The training center will train soldiers nationwide in the operation of
UAVs.
...“Unmanned vehicles have become an important tool for military and civilian agencies
and are used to address a variety of mission objectives including military, law
enforcement, and other uses not commonly thought of, including disaster assessment and
environmental monitoring,” said Smith. “Even as we increase our reliance on these
systems, we must continue to look for ways to reduce costs while continuing to drive
innovation.”
...Special operations units use unmanned aerial systems in training at NASA’s Stennis
Space Center, some 80 miles from Camp Shelby. Also, Camp Shelby is about 90 miles
from Moss Point, Miss., where Northrop Grumman does portions of the work on all
variants of the fixed-wing Global Hawk surveillance aircraft and two variants of the Fire
Scout unmanned helicopter. -
David Tortorano, GCAC, 12/13/13