|U.S. Air Force picks UND to host UAS-related conference|
The U.S. Air Force has chosen UND Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research, Education and Training as the site for an academic outreach conference to be held August 4-6. About 100 U.S. universities will be invited to participate in the conference at UND.
Signed into effect on June 26 by Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley and U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, the U.S. Air Force Unmanned Aircraft 40-year “Flight Plan” will be the central symposium topic.
“The U.S. Air Force wanted to reach out to academia to engage that community regarding the Air Force’s future needs,” said Douglas Marshall, director of program development for the UAS Center. “The long-term goal is to take people out of the cockpit to reduce the risk and still have the capability of defense.”
The Air Force recently briefed UND officials on its plans for the role of unmanned aircraft in defense measures, but this will be the first time the document is made publicly available, Marshall said.
“I don’t know if there’s ever been an outreach like this by the Air Force. We’re honored that they chose us to do it—it’s a credit to all the people who do the work, our senators and state—all the people who live and work here,” Marshall said. “I don’t know any other state that has thrown its efforts behind such a program.”
Senator Kent Conrad and Senator Byron Dorgan are expected to provide welcoming remarks via satellite. The UND Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems has provided premier UAS research and education through funding provided through Sen. Dorgan's efforts since 2005. The U.S. Department of Defense has been the leader in the implementation of unmanned aircraft systems in support of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Air Force officials also are expected to present on the MQ-X aircraft that is the next generation of the Predator aircraft recently used in the state-wide flood efforts. The symposium will provide the opportunity to discuss the Air Force Flight Plan, the future of UAS technology and allow officials to network; thereby laying the groundwork to respond to future requests for proposals.
“It’s a good opportunity to expose the community to the rest of the world,” Marshall said. “We’re pretty proud of what we’re doing here.”
For more information, contact Bill Watson at 777-2615 or firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Juan Pedraza, National Media Relations Coordinator, University Relations, email@example.com, 777-6571