The Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education (OAIRE) at Oklahoma State University has announced a Counter-UAS Center of Excellence and a new partnership targeted at strengthening national defense. This will be achieved by developing counter-measures to thwart malicious Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). 

The agreement secures OSU’s position as the “preferred aerospace defense provider” for Fort Sill, U.S. Army base. The agreement states a $15 million Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) subcontract from Amentum to assist federal agencies in technology development to counter threats from drones and other UAS through the Counter-UAS Center of Excellence (CUAS COE). 

“By working together, we are setting the national standard for counter-UAS. The possibilities for the future of aerospace at OSU in Oklahoma and for the United States are far reaching and it’s all built on a bedrock constructed from decades of experience,” says Kayse Shrum, OSU President. “This center will change what’s possible with national security. It will advance research and strengthen the Oklahoma economy as we merge civilian and military worlds into a partnership that will exponentially improve the mission of both.” 

The center is a vital component to OSU’s aerospace infrastructure. “We are working with industry and federal agencies to coordinate and evaluate technology to ensure the U.S. retains the lead in UAS and counter-UAS technology for the foreseeable future,” says Shrum. 

Close relationship with the DoD

The center was established in partnership with the Deparment of Defense (DoD) through the National Defense Authorization Act. The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command contracted with OSU to initiate the CUAS COE with $6.5 million in funds across FY2021 and FY2022. $5 million additional is pending for FY2023 (OSU launches). 

The institute will bring resources and research together to place Oklahoma at the forefront of this specialty area aimed to safeguard the nation from the weaponization of drones. “What I’ve seen as a soldier from the OSU USRI team – from what’s going to be the Center of Excellence for counter-UAS at OSU – is very encouraging to see the open dialogue, communication, thought, and brilliant minds that put a lot of effort and work to solve these problems,” says Col. Todd Daniels, Assistant Commandant for the Air Defense Artillery School at Fort Sill. 

Homeland Security Projects

 Over the next four and a half years, $15 million will be allocated to fund a series of projects at the center. Projects will involve developing, evaluating, and improving technologies used to identify, track, and mitigate drone threats. Mitigating drone threats to infrastructure and other sites critical to Homeland Security will be the focus. Training of existing and potential professionals will also be involved. This will be to better understand and deploy counter-UAS technologies and techniques.