Photo from MSU

Congressman Guest applauds the multi-million dollar investment.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced funding for Mississippi State University’s Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

For fiscal year 2021, the funds provided to the MSU Center by FEMA’s Homeland Security National Training Program Continuing Training Grant total approximately $2 million and are intended to be used to develop training programs for the use of drones in disaster preparation and response.

“The development of these UAS training programs will save lives in the coming years. Mississippi and other states in our region will face the inevitable storms and floods of the future with increased preparedness thanks in part to this program and the grants that make it possible,” Representative Michael Guest said in a statement.

Scientists are using UAS technology to attempt to solve pressing world problems such as famine by using unmanned aircraft to revolutionize farming techniques and improve crop yields through precision agriculture.

UAS technology can also be used to aid in emergency response efforts, create biofuel and clean fuel technologies, and help with law enforcement and environmental monitoring.

Mississippi State University’s Raspet Flight Laboratory was designated in 2020 as the FAA’s UAS Safety Research Facility. This laboratory is the only institute in the world that is designated as the FAA’s UAS Safety Research Facility and as official UAS Test Sites for both the FAA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Companies such as Airbus Helicopters, Aurora Flight Science, GE Aerospace and Stark Aerospace have established bases in Mississippi due to MSU’s efforts, bringing in more than 700 high-tech jobs to the state.