» Subscribe Today!
The Power of Information
Home
The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition
X
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Article
VOL. 35 | NO. 33 | Friday, August 19, 2011




Army works with MTSU on drone aircraft technology

Print | Front Page | Email this story

NASHVILLE (AP) — Middle Tennessee State University is partnering with the U.S. Army to develop research for unmanned aircraft technology that has been a vital asset for the military in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, officials said Thursday.

The partnership, announced in Washington, is the first agreement between a university and the Army's Unmanned Aircraft Systems project office, which manages the Army's drone aircraft fleet.

Through the partnership, students at the university about 30 miles southeast of Nashville will get hands-on training with the Army's Raven aircraft, a small hand-launched plane that is often used on the front lines to provide aerial surveillance. The military's use of drones in the ongoing wars has been a tactical advantage as the aircraft can provide surveillance, intelligence, and targeted attacks in remote and difficult terrain.

The university, which has an aerospace department that produces air traffic controllers and pilots, plans to start a new degree concentration in unmanned aircraft systems operations. MTSU also announced the opening of a new UAS research and development center, which will allow them to test vehicles and develop business models.

Kyle Snyder, director of MTSU's Unmanned Aircraft Systems program, said the growth of the technology in the military has encouraged universities to look at research and training opportunities.

"This has been such a growth industry that not only are companies seeing opportunities to get involved and make money off it, universities are seeing this as a niche for them to produce a new round of students," he told The Associated Press by phone on Thursday from Washington.

MTSU's aerospace department, which was started in the 1940s, has grown to offer five aerospace concentrations and a master's degree program. It's also in close proximity to the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., and Fort Rucker, home of the Army's Aviation Center of Excellence.

"We have a real sweet little deal here to make a big splash pretty quickly, and this relationship with the Army is indicative of our ability to do that," Snyder said.

The university will also be looking for ways to use the unmanned aircraft technology commercially, Snyder said. For example, a small aircraft could be used to take high-definition images of crop fields to determine what areas need more water or nutrients, he said. Law enforcement agencies are using drones for surveillance, and the image capabilities could be used for geological mapping, he said.

A new curriculum for the unmanned aircraft systems concentration is being drafted now, Snyder said, with the goal to have the program in place for students to enroll in the fall of 2012. This fall, the university is offering an introductory course to start generating student interest.

Universities hope to have around 100 to 150 students a year in the new unmanned aircraft program.

"We've been kind of flying under everyone's radar, but there's so much potential here," Snyder said.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & RSS:
Sign-Up For Our FREE email edition
Get the news first with our free weekly email
Name
Email  
TNLedger.com Knoxville Editon
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0