Seeking to benefit from the anticipated, widespread commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) nationwide, Nevadans have been working diligently to cultivate an industry around this type of aircraft.
Nevada is one of six states designated as FAA UAS test sites, or places for research and development and creation of technological strategies for integrating UAS into the NAS. The Silver State has nearly 40 centers where testing can occur. They include the four originals—Reno Stead Airport, Fallon Municipal Airport, Boulder City Municipal Airport and the Desert Rock Airstrip.
“Even if we only see 10 percent or are only able to capture 10 percent of that market, that’s $9 billion,” said Tom Wilczek, the defense and aerospace industry representative at the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). “We absolutely see a value added in terms of developing a cluster in Nevada specific to UAV development. It’s a new chapter in Nevada.”