Ground broken on US AAM centre of excellence


Last week ground was broken on the new National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence (NAAMCE) at Ohio’s Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. The centre will become the US home for research and development opportunities for unmanned drones and eVTOL aircraft programmes.

US Congressman, Mike Turner, who secured $10m in funding for the centre, said: “NAAMCE will strengthen Ohio’s growing defence industry and create new economic opportunities for the Springfield region. Securing federal funding to establish NAAMCE over the past five years has been a priority of mine in order to bring research and innovation initiatives, such as unmanned aircraft systems, to the Miami Valley.”

As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Turner began efforts to bring new defence and research opportunities to Springfield-Beckley over four years ago via the annual National Defense Authorisation Acts (NDAA).

Funding for NAAMCE was initially denied for two reasons: competitiveness of other sites in the country based on non-defined grant guidelines of DoD and the existing population cap.

In response, Turner used the NDAA in 2021 to refine the US DoD’s funding criteria to place “enhancing military value” at the top priority and expanded the cap on participating rural communities to 100,000 residents. Turner’s modification placed Springfield at a strategic advantage for the following year’s competitive grant programme that allowed him to secure a $6m grant.

This year, Turner secured an additional $4.7m in federal funding for the base-wide microgrid at Springfield-Beckley which will provide the infrastructure capabilities needed for NAAMCE’s operations.

JobsOhio, a private economic development corporation, is also planning to support the project through the Ohio Site Inventory Program (OSIP). A multi-million dollar OSIP grant would cover site preparation, utility extensions, an access drive, and parking area for the facilities. The grant is awaiting final approval.

NAAMCE is expected to be complete by June 2023.