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Advanced Air Mobility and Unmanned Systems Sector

Soaring to New Heights

Oklahoma is the premier location for the ever-evolving unmanned systems sector. Key assets and test sites across the state are setting the stage for research and development, manufacturing and more.
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Advanced Air Mobility + Unmanned Systems Quick Facts

State-of-the-Art Facilities

Research universities have and continue to develop facilities, equipment and talent to address the needs and challenges of UAS

845,000+ Acres of Test Sites

Seven test sites located across the state to safely test and validate emerging aviation technologies

Degrees & Certifications

3 research universities offering UAS-related programs; 9 Oklahoma colleges and universities offer aerospace degrees and certifications

#1 Most Prepared for Drones

Oklahoma is ranked #1 in preparedness for the drone industry by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

#3 Lowest Cost of Doing Business

Oklahoma is ranked #3 for lowest cost of doing business according to CNBC America's Top States for Business.

Supply Chain Database

Connex Oklahoma helps manufacturers find alternate suppliers, view their supply chain, avoid supply chain risks and find local suppliers.

#12 Most Gun-Friendly State

According to Guns & Ammo, Oklahoma received high scores in every category for the 2024 ranking.

ONLY Bachelor's in Gunsmithing in the U.S.

Murray State College was approved to offer the first and only bachelor’s in Gunsmithing in America with the first class beginning in Fall 2024.

All of the pieces in Oklahoma fit what we were looking for. We wanted a state that is supportive of the business we’re in, supportive of the military, supportive of advancements of our capability testing, have a close proximity to military bases and have the potential for a fight test facility.
Steve Fendley, President, Unmanned Systems Division, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc.
Unmanned Aerial Systems
Autonomous systems are a key priority in Oklahoma

Workforce

Oklahoma’s extensive education system, business development team and workforce organizations collaborate to ensure there’s a pipeline of talent to get started and keep going.

  • 1st university in the U.S. with a PhD program focused on UAS design – Oklahoma State University
  • 9 CareerTech centers provide aerospace- focused certification, training and testing
  • 10 CareerTech centers offer a variety of UAS and Drone courses
  • 6 CareerTech centers offer FAA Certification/ Testing for commercial and/or hobby use
  • 80+ high schools are teaching the AOPA curriculum which includes a UAS pathway

Incentive Programs

Oklahoma offers competitive tax rates and attractive incentives for businesses. The following incentives are often utilized by aerospace companies.

National Weather Center

The NWC is the largest confederation of federal, university and private sector weather and climate research, education, operational and public outreach organizations on the planet. The Norman facility is the headquarters for severe storm tracking and prediction across the U.S.

National Severe Storms Laboratory

NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman conducts research on both cold and warm season hazardous weather events, and collaborates with both OU and OSU to characterize severe storms using UAS.

Choctaw Nation Daisy Ranch

Daisy Ranch is a 44,000+ acre site for the development of a UAS RDT&E site and an industrial park. Here, the Choctaw Nation is hosting its BEYOND program, a partnership with the FAA and other industry partners to safely test and validate advanced UAS operations.

Projects + Partners

Between 2014 and 2019, $44 million in contracts were awarded to Oklahoma companies and institutions in support of unmanned aerial systems from sponsors that include the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Department of Energy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, and numerous private companies.

Oklahoma’s UAS Areas/Test Sites & Assets

Oklahoma features more than 845,000 acres of UAS test sites and numerous assets to advance research & development, testing and more.

Areas/Test Sites

1 – Camp Gruber Joint Maneuver Training Center

The Oklahoma National Guard’s premier 33,000-acre maneuver training center comprised of live fire ranges, urban operations training sites and more; home of the Oklahoma National Guard’s Counter Unmanned Systems Training Program and mission integration development efforts

2 – Choctaw Nation Emerging Aviation Technology Center

A 44,000+-acre facility for the development of UAS/AAM research & development, testing and evaluation; a Lead Participant in the FAA’s BEYOND program, collaborating with the FAA and other industry partners to safely test and validate emerging aviation technologies

3 – Legion Airfield

Oklahoma State University-owned property located at the north end of Fort Sill’s 5601 restricted airspace and includes a 2,200-foot paved runway; capable of group 1-3 UAS operations, experimentation and demonstration which support Fort Sill and OSU/ OAIRE UAS

4 – Oklahoma Air & Space Port

One of 14 FAA-licensed spaceports in the U.S., a public-use airport and 1,100-acre industrial airpark with facilities in place for aerospace testing, research & development, flights and launches; features only FAA-approved space flight corridor not in restricted or military airspace, an air traffic control tower, and a telemetry & monitoring room designed for mission control during flight testing, launch, tracking and recovery

5 – Oklahoma State University Unmanned Aircraft Flight Station and BVLOS Corridor

The Unmanned Aircraft Flight Station at OSU is a dedicated UAS flight development and test facility near Stillwater, Okla. Research opportunities include UAS Design, Aerodynamics, Flight Path Management and Airspace Integration, Sense and Avoid, Controls, Structures, Aeroacoustics, Propulsion, Communications and Operations, and Sensors and Payloads.

6 – Skyway 36 Droneport

The Osage Nation’s aerospace technology innovation zone and droneport is ideally suited for autonomous and robotics research & development, as well as production.

7 – OSU Unmanned Aircraft Flight Station 

A flight test facility connecting Oklahoma State University’s Unmanned Aircraft Flight Station (currently OAIRE’S primary UAS flight test facility) with the Osage Nation Skyway36 Droneport, and eventually link to downtown Tulsa

Assets

8 – FAA Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center

Provides critical products and services that touch all aspects of aviation; directly supports the safe and efficient operations of the national and international aviation system; trains 76,000 students annually 

9 – Fires Innovation Science & Technology Accelerator (FISTA)

A secure acceleration hub leveraging collaborations and partnerships with Fort Sill, two cross-functional teams, and municipal, state, and federal authorities with a STEM center and anechoic chamber FISTA facilitates research & development, and testing solutions

10 – Ft. Sill

Home of the Army’s Fires Center of Excellence, the foundation of the Army’s artillery and air & missile defense, the Army Futures Command Long Range Precision Fires and Air and Missile Defense cross-functional teams, and the Joint Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems Academy

11 – OSU CUAS COE

OAIRE coordinates efforts to rapidly develop and test counter drone capabilities and the ability of the military to attract a skilled, cleared and trained workforce to develop and test this technology

12 – OSU Launchpad Research Center

OAIRE supports advanced air mobility research and entrepreneurship 

13 – OSU OAIRE

The center of gravity for a statewide initiative to answer industry and federal demand for innovation, excellence and expertise in aerospace

14 – OU OADII

Brings together the full range of the University of Oklahoma’s capabilities and resources to provide holistic solutions addressing aerospace, defense, and global security challenges

15 – OU Kessler Atmospheric and Ecological Field Station

A 350-acre site owned and operated by the University of Oklahoma; an established, approved sUAS CoA has been in continuous operation since 2013, operating surface to 5,000 AGL in class G and E airspace  

16 – OU Radar Innovations Laboratory

Includes a large microwave lab, a high-bay garage for mobile radar platforms, prototype fabrication facilities, a fully stocked machine shop, two precision anechoic chambers, an experimental observation deck, state-of-the-art classroom and seminar space, and a unique “Ideas Room” for fostering collaboration and innovation 

Download our brochure on Oklahoma unmanned systems. Inside you will find more information about Oklahoma's unmanned systems test sites, workforce data, incentives and more.
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