A major milestone for the region’s NUAIR alliance as it builds the latest in test facilities for drones.
NUAIR has signed two deals for phase one of a multi-million dollar test corridor.
To get the Unmanned Traffic Management system, UTM, off the ground NUAIR will first build a corridor 15 miles in radius near Griffiss International Airport.
NUAIR CEO and President Mark “Hoot” Gibson tells NewsChannel 9, “In fact I invited everybody to come in for a little opportunity to celebrate, frankly, that we’re finally signing things, getting them in play, so I think its very significant.”
SRC’s Gryphon Sensors will install nine radars including integrating into operations and installing the original four and then putting up two new ones before winter hits.
The remainder of the initial nine radars will be installed next Spring.
A contract is pending with Raytheon for a mobile system.
Gibson says, “And I think the community will take note of it, they know we’ve been talking about this for awhile but the fact that now we can say they’re under contract and the first installation that first 12-months is underway.”
The Governor has committed $30M of State money for the UTM project.
Several million more dollars were earmarked for drone projects as part of the $500M Upstate Revitalization Initiative won by Central New York a few years ago.
Gibson says, “I’m prodding our staff everyday that we would like to see more of the URI money unfold but we’ve got to show them what we can do with $30m before we’ll ask for more.”
The plan is to have Phase One of the corridor fully operational in a year, the entire 50-mile corridor in 24 months.