Community gets sneak peek at unmanned aircraft

The Oklahoma Training Center for Unmanned Systems is settling into its new home, and last week it invited users and neighbors to come by for a peek.

The center had until recently been adjacent to Fort Sill’s West Range near Indiahoma. Now it’s on a 200-acre site near the post’s East Range, a site that offers better facilities and better access for its users.

The lab is owned by Oklahoma State University’s Multispectral Lab (UML), which is operated by Triton Scientific (a subsidiary of the Keogh Group) and Atria Defense Group.

Toney Stricklin of TDRS, a consultant for the center, said a major advantage of the new site is its runway  4,300 feet, compared to 2,200 feet at the old location. A farmhouse on the site has been converted into the headquarters, which has space for the operations center and for training. There’s also a garage, and a 70-by-80-foot hangar has been erected for the aircraft and equipment.

Web Keogh, director of the UML, said the longer runway allows larger vehicles to use the facility, which so far has concentrated on defense-related projects, using the Fort Sill air space to test unmanned vehicles and payloads.

The lab has its own TigerShark unmanned vehicles to test packages, and it’s now providing training on the Scan Eagle  a smaller Boeing system  for the Air Force Special Operations Command. Last year Northrop Grumman officials visited the old test site and expressed interest in locating a UAS test crew here.

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