UAS Infrastructure Project
The Houma Terrebonne Airport Commission, along with several partners, have been working for quite a number of years to bring drone technology to the Houma-Terrebonne Airport.
We are not looking to just bring this technology to South Louisiana to diversify the economy, but also to help create new jobs to support that technology.
Brief History of Drone Technology
Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, have been around since unmanned balloons full of explosives were used in 1839 by Austrian soldiers. Since then, the technology has been used by the military in different avenues and mostly in reconnaissance.
In the early 2000s, drone technology became more mainstream and commercialized. It is used in surveying, pipeline work, crowd security and many other ways.
Partners in the Effort
Mr. R. George Rey, Sr., COTS Technology, LLC, has been working as the HTAC’s consultant throughout this process.
He has been diligently engaging with companies and educational facilities to partner with the HTAC to bring Large Unmanned Aircraft Systems (L-UAS) to the Houma-Terrebonne Airport and South Louisiana.
Mr. Rey’s efforts have lead to the creation of the UAS Gulf of Mexico Center of Excellence (UGC), which is a Public-Private Partnership that will allow government, academia and private entities to participate in eventually operating L-UAS over the Gulf of Mexico.
The HTAC currently has in place Memorandums of Understanding with most of the partners depicted in the photo below.
In June 2019, the Houma Terrebonne Airport Commission received a $1.3 grant from the Federal Economic Development Administration to begin implementing infrastructure for the airport’s UAS facility. An event was held to commemorate the award of this grant at the Era Helicopters facility on the Houma-Terrebonne Airport.
During that event, Governor John Bel Edwards officially signed his Executive Order to designate the Houma Terrebonne Airport as the Louisiana Hub for Large Automated Aircraft Systems.
Milford & Associates, Inc, a Houma company, was selected to design the infrastructure that will lead to the future L-UAS Campus on the Houma-Terrebonne Airport.
The first Phase in building the infrastructure is constructing Blue Angel Road, which will provide access to the site selected by the airport from Louisiana Highway 24.
This phase of construction will also include ramp space and a connector to Taxiway Echo. Phase I cost is approximately $1.9 million and covers the areas shown below in dark gray.
Ground breaking is set for March 2021 and we hope to have the first phase of the project completed in Summer 2021.