Ohio, Indiana officials explore drone opportunities

Indiana and Ohio politicians have joined together to try to expand on the states’ opportunities involving unmanned aerial vehicles.

Although Federal Aviation Administration officials rejected the states’ proposal to become an official drone test site, Rep. Todd Young, R-9th District, and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, spent Monday and Tuesday in both states examining what each one has to offer in regards to drone development.

The partnership formed because Indiana has operational capability and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio researches and develops the drone technology.

Drones developed in Ohio could be field-tested on Indiana installations such as Camp Atterbury and the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.

On Tuesday, the men joined military officials for a tour of Muscatatuck before flying in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to the 38th Infantry Division Armory on the west side of Indianapolis.

Young said not being selected for an official test site could bring more opportunities for those involved.

“Actually, the designation wasn’t of great import,” Young said. “We discovered in wake of the selection process other opportunities down the road.

“Being selected, we since discovered, could have inhibited our ability to move forward with these other partnering relationships rather than negotiating with the FAA for a number of months,’ he said. The partnership “could bring residual economic development benefits to Hoosiers and to Ohioans alike.”

Though the future of UAV’s is still uncertain, Turner said the technology will definitely be a part of both Indiana’s and Ohio’s futures.

“By joining our resources together we have a great platform to really be national players. We aren’t certain what all the applications will be,” Turner said.

“We do know it will include certainly agriculture, security and emergency responses, and military applications,” he said. “All of those are areas where we already have core competencies. Taking those and leveraging them to the application of UAV technology of the future is where we are going to really lead.”

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