Pentagon Tests Drone at Civilian Airpark in Ohio
July 10, 2012
WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio, has put a friendly spin on the ongoing effort to introduce military technology into the civilian realm.
“The planes look and sound like radio control aircraft that anyone can buy, but these are modified with special systems for research or observation,” the news station reports.
“A lot of the things that we use, surprisingly, are from the model airplane field. It’s not really the aircraft that we’re testing, but the components inside auto pilot and flight control systems,” said Mike Pilkenton of the U.S. Air Force.
The Pentagon is testing drones “for more advanced military exercises” and commercial use at the Wilmington Air Park.
Earlier this year, the airfield was slotted as a prime candidate for one of six proposed test sites for unmanned aircraft and systems mandated by an FAA reauthorization bill in February, according to the Dayton Business Journal.
The Wilmington Air Park and other sites are part of an ambitious effort by the FAA to integrate drones into the nation’s air traffic control system by 2015.
Local officials in Ohio believe working with the Pentagon and the military industrial complex will result in more jobs for the recession impacted region.
“From my perspective this is the very beginning of a long-term, very broad industry with many potential paths,” Bret Dixon, Clinton county’s economic development director, told the business journal.