A new chapter for Utah’s aerospace and defense
Merged Deseret UAS and Utah Aerospace & Defense Board hosting Governor Cox at Teal Drones. Photo Credit: Stan Summers, Box Elder County Commissioner.
wo public-private partnerships have joined forces to develop Utah’s aerospace and defense industries. In April, the Utah Aerospace & Defense Association (UADA) and Deseret Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) announced a consolidation. Deseret will now be called the Advanced Aviation and Technology Committee.
“Together, we will advocate for policies, regulations, and research that directly support our members,” said UADA President and CEO Aaron Starks in a press release, arguing that the two organizations “synergistically” align and will be better off combining their efforts. The UADA launched in 2022 with the aim of working across government agencies and private businesses to grow the defense industry in the state. They have mainly focused on networking, talent development and gathering resources.
This new partnership will allow UADA to embrace Deseret UAS’s mission of “facilitating rural economic development” by advocating for the building and testing of drones. Deseret UAS Chair Shawn Milne argues the development of drones will revolutionize travel.
“We whole-heartedly embrace a consolidation with UADA to keep Utah’s aerospace and defense industry at the forefront of the world’s technological innovations,” Milne said in the announcement. “The United States did not have roads or a national interstate system when Henry Ford built the Model T. We will work proactively with UADA to support the uncrewed aerial vehicles and transportation systems that will be used for the roads of the future.”
Drones are poised to be a key fixture of military development. Since the Bush administration, the country has been using them as weaponry—secretly at first, but acknowledged publicly once the Obama administration dramatically increased their usage.
Photo courtesy of Wasatch Ionics
Meanwhile, drones outside of military use have exploded for everything from surveillance to delivering packages and filmmaking. In Utah’s technology sector, this means several companies are looking seriously at developments and integrating them into their future plans.
“Advanced air mobility is the way of the future and has the potential to fundamentally reshape our lives. UADA represents aerospace and defense companies making transformational innovations that are improving Utahns’ quality of life and leading to strong economic prosperity for decades to come,” said UADA Chair Robert C. O’Brien, co-founder and chairman of American Global Strategies LLC in the UADA and Deseret UAS press release. “Through this organizational consolidation and UADA’s efforts going forward, Utah will continue to be at the epicenter of making these innovations a reality.”