By Air National Guard Lt. Col. John R. Puckett
Indiana Air National Guard
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (12/19/11) – The Indiana National Guard recently teamed up with Indiana State University in Terre Haute by officially entering into an agreement to share restricted airspace with the state school.
On December 5th, Army Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard, and ISU president, Dr. Daniel J. Bradley, signed a memorandum of understanding to allow ISU to use the restricted air space, runway and other resources at the Camp Atterbury-Muscatatuck Center for Complex Operations, or CAMCCO, in southeastern Indiana.
In addition to allowing ISU to use CAMCCO's resources, the memorandum of understanding named ISU as the coordinating agency for nongovernmental organizations interested in using CAMCCO's restricted airspace.
"By signing this document today, it basically establishes Indiana State University as the single point-of-contact for businesses or organizations that want to work with us in an urban environment with restricted space and unmanned aerial systems," Umbarger said.
The Indiana National Guard's 181st Intelligence Wing in Terre Haute recently transformed from a flying unit to an intelligence unit doing real-world intelligence missions, and the memorandum between the two institutions will benefit the unit.
"We're proud of the air base in Terre Haute," Umbarger said. "For more than 54 years they flew aircraft here. But things change, and we had an opportunity to get a state-of-the-art mission and we grabbed on to that.
"It's important that Indiana State University is here to establish the correct curriculum to teach UAV systems," he said. "Indiana has more restricted airspace than any state east of the Mississippi."
Dr. Bradley said the university was very excited about the agreement and the possibilities it brings.
"The College of Technology folks are ready to go," Bradley said. "We announced this morning that we're funding an unmanned vehicle center for the university, and our partnership with the Indiana National Guard is a big part of that."
Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Hauser, assistant adjutant general for Air for the Indiana Air National Guard, is also an assistant professor of aviation technology at ISU and the school's Director of Unmanned Systems. He said the memorandum of understanding creates a major opportunity for ISU to get involved with the unmanned systems program and be the coordinating agency.
"Unmanned aerial vehicles is a fast-growing field," Hauser said. "I can see a lot of folks wanting to use that airspace, because not every organization is going to have airspace where they can fly their vehicles."
Before signing the agreement, Umbarger visited with the 181st IW, where he was greeted by Air Force Col. Don Bonte, wing commander, and briefed on the wing's intelligence mission.