Jul 13 2005

FORT RUCKER TO BE UAV CENTER OF EXCELLENCE

Shelby applauds decision by the Army to establish center at Fort Rucker

WASHINGTON, D. C. -- U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) today applauded a decision by the Department of the Army to soon announce the establishment of a Center of Excellence for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) at Fort Rucker.

Senator Shelby said, “I am extremely pleased that the Department of the Army has selected Fort Rucker for its UAV Center of Excellence. With the US Army Aviation Center housed at Fort Rucker, this installation is the perfect choice to host the Army’s UAV Center of Excellence. Fort Rucker, combined with assets at Redstone Arsenal, Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, Fort Huachuca, and Fort Sill, is already a fully operational Army UAV Center. All of the necessary infrastructure to support a UAV Center of Excellence is provided, and this combination of facilities addresses the full suite of unmanned systems and represents the complete life-cycle from concept to employment by the warfighter.”

“The mission of the Army Center of Excellence will be to support the Army’s development and operation of future and already fielded unmanned capabilities and actively work to coordinate the integration of unmanned systems with other appropriate weapon systems. The Center's focus will also encompass missions employing unmanned UAVs independently and those missions that integrate UAVs with manned systems - ground, surface, subsurface, and airborne. I believe that Fort Rucker is the appropriate lead for this task and will dutifully carry out this mission,” Shelby added.

UAVs are powered, aerial vehicles that do not carry a human operator, use aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload. Historically, the greatest use of UAVs have been in the areas of surveillance and reconnaissance, however the War on Terrorism has put a high premium on the primary mission of UAVs: intelligence gathering. UAVs are a key element within the concept of information dominance and offer two main advantages over manned aircraft – they are considered more cost-effective and they minimize the risk to a pilot’s life.

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