MITRE opens experimentation range dedicated to small UAS

By MITRE | August 16, 2023

A pioneer of drone technology and applications for more than 20 years, MITRE opened a new facility dedicated to small uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS). The site in Orange, Va., serves as a proving ground for MITRE’s technologists and U.S. government sponsors who develop, test, and evaluate the newest technological advances for commercial robotics, autonomous systems, drones, and counter-drone systems.

“We take great pride in being a trusted partner for agencies in helping them select and evaluate the right UAS and C-UAS tools for their unique needs,” said Yosry Barsoum, MITRE vice president and director, Center for Securing the Homeland. “This new testing range will enable agencies and industry to work hand in hand to build safer communities.”

The opening of the range included a ribbon cutting that included Jeffrey Vincent, executive director of the FAA’s UAS Integration Office, and U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Virginia, who represents the area in Congress.

“The Drone Range will provide a tremendous opportunity for valuable collaboration among government, industry, and academic researchers, benefitting the drone community at large,” Vincent said. 

“This moment marks a major milestone for Orange County, Virginia’s economy, and this technology’s promise to make America safer and stronger. As someone with a background in national security, I understand how critical—and how necessary—these technologies are for the future defense of our homeland, our communities, and our people,” said Spanberger. “That’s why I was proud to join MITRE leaders and local officials as we reiterated our commitment to making sure Virginia continues to lead the way in this field. I’m thrilled that MITRE has selected Orange County for this range. It’s truly an exciting day to be a Virginian.”

MITRE has a rich history of drone innovation and public safety applications. MITRE has partnered with police, firefighters, and security and public safety organizations across the country to enable drone technology specifically tailored for the situations first responders encounter most frequently. This includes recent work with the New York Police Department to transform hazardous materials response units.

Both the Army and Navy are implementing MITRE’s groundbreaking smartphone app-controlled counter-drone solution, CARPE Dronvm, equipping soldiers and sailors with the means to swiftly report and thwart aerial threats. MITRE Engenuity, a subsidiary of MITRE, has researched the benefits of wide-area 5G cellular network architectures on UAS, specifically those intended to operate beyond visual line of sight. Engenuity is also actively developing a training program for first responders on how to safely, effectively, and efficiently conduct drone operations.

“Our team of experts works tirelessly to ensure our drone solutions are not only cutting-edge but also user-friendly, allowing agencies to harness the full potential of uncrewed aerial systems,” said Steve King, MITRE, senior manager.