MassDevelopment Selects Avwatch to Operate and Manage Test Ranges for Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Joint Base Cape Cod

March 23, 2015


Emily Dahl, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 978-394-3506 (cell)
Jim Farrell, PR First, 781-681-6616

MassDevelopment has selected Avwatch of Plymouth to operate and manage the Massachusetts Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Ranges at Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC) and other test sites in Massachusetts. Avwatch, which delivers aerial reconnaissance, real-time full motion video, and tactical networking services to government and commercial clients, was selected for its expertise in aerial reconnaissance, and testing and evaluating aerial systems. Avwatch will assure regulatory compliance in the performance of UAS testing activities and provide operational support for UAS test range customers and users.

The Test Ranges and the Massachusetts UAS Test Center (MAUASTC) at JBCC will offer opportunities for existing businesses to expand current operations, as well as promote the development of new business opportunities in the fields of UAS platforms, control systems, and payload/sensor development.

In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) Alliance, a group of organizations in Massachusetts and New York, would operate one of six test sites in the United States for the development of safe standards for the integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the National Airspace System. Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York, acts as the partnership's lead site with MassDevelopment managing testing facilities at JBCC.

“MassDevelopment is proud to partner with Avwatch as the operator and manager of the Massachusetts Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Ranges at Joint Base Cape Cod,” said Carter Hunt, Vice President of Defense Sector Initiatives at MassDevelopment and Executive Director of the Massachusetts UAS Test Center. “JBCC offers one of the premier locations for unmanned aerial systems testing due to the availability of airspace, weather, and landscape diversity combined with the concentration of industry and academic expertise in Massachusetts. Aeronautics companies should consider Joint Base Cape Cod for their UAS testing needs.”

Joint Base Cape Cod is a 22,000-acre historic military base that is a uniquely organized joint installation with components from the Army National Guard (Camp Edwards), Air National Guard (Otis Air National Guard Base), United States Coast Guard (Air Station Cape Cod), and United States Air Force (6th Space Warning Squadron PavePAWS), training for missions at home and overseas, conducting airborne search and rescue missions, and operating intelligence command and control.

“We are very pleased to have been chosen by MassDevelopment for this critical stage in UAS development,” said Avwatch founder and President Chris Kluckhuhn. He added, “Our extensive experience makes us a turnkey provider to grow UAS operations in Massachusetts. We look forward to working with our project partners to make Massachusetts a Worldwide Center of Excellence for Maritime UAS Operations.”

The UAS industry is projected to create an estimated 70,000 new jobs nationwide by 2017 and more than 100,000 by 2025. Total U.S. economic impact of the UAS industry will reach $82 billion by 2025 according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

Avwatch delivers highly advanced operational expertise deploying UAS technologies in the safest way possible including experience with Joint Environments, which involve flying manned and unmanned aircraft safely in the same area. The company will establish Joint Base Cape Cod as a headquarters to support both domestic and foreign UAS operations. The UAS operations will provide maritime domain awareness, persistent fisheries surveillance, marine mammal patrols, shark patrols, and will increase public safety with search and rescue and disaster response.

Founded in 2008, Avwatch is a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, which harnesses innovative and proven technologies to support, enhance, and train federal, state, and local government agencies in support of homeland security and disaster recovery. Avwatch's team is comprised of nationally recognized Homeland Security experts who are well-versed in military, federal, state, and local disaster response planning and response protocols.

MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2014, MassDevelopment financed or managed 314 projects generating investment of more than $2.9 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 6,300 jobs and build or rehabilitate more than 1,600 residential units.