At least 30 states are considered likely competitors for the test sites, which could boost job creation by attracting more companies with a stake in research and development of UAVs and the sensor packages they carry. Beyond military uses, the UAVs are in demand for civilian markets including law enforcement, homeland security, emergency response and agriculture.
The Dayton Development Coalition and Ohio officials are ready to respond whenever the FAA issues its request for proposals, said Joe Zeis, the coalition’s executive vice president.
The Dayton region is home to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, UAV and sensors research and development, a UAV mission at Springfield’s Ohio Air National Guard base, and aerospace, propulsion and advanced manufacturing expertise, along with courses designed to train UAV pilots. Regional leaders have declined to project how many jobs could result if an FAA-designated test site were nearby, but have said it would be a major boost for the local industry.