MTSU, U.S. Army sign unmanned aircraft agreement

MTSU, U.S. Army sign unmanned aircraft agreement

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Army Col. Timothy Baxter, project manager for the Army’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems office, signed an agreement on Aug. 18 to share training and resources in the use of drone aircraft technology. The signing took place in Washington, D.C., at the annual gathering of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

The Army is partnering with MTSU to turn university-level research and development into technology applicable to UAS. As part of the exchange, the Army pledged to support MTSU’s UAS educational and research efforts; MTSU will receive three hand-launched, remote-controlled AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven aircraft and two control stations from the Army later this fall.

The university simultaneously announced plans for a Center for Unmanned Systems Operational Advancement and Research at MTSU, to be known as MT-CUSOAR. The new center will provide a collaborative environment for academic, industry and government entities to advance UAS operations and technology integration.

The pact is the first signed between a university and the Army UAS Program Office, which operates the largest unmanned fleet in America. Although the Army works with other universities on a contract basis, the collaboration with MTSU is unprecedented.