Unmanned Aerial Systems are on the Rise in New York State

The emergence of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technologies is expected to be the next great evolution of civil aviation not only in the United States, but also around the world. With an industrial heritage rooted in aerospace and sensing systems, Central New York and the Mohawk Valley regions are leading the way with the development of a dynamic corridor of innovation and testing that will take the UAS industry to new heights. This industry is taking off from our strategic launchpad of support, which includes state investments, an integrated advanced manufacturing supply chain, critical industry-university partnerships, a strong network of industry partners, cutting-edge military and research assets, and an FAA UAS test site with Class C & D airspace available for testing at Griffiss International Airport. New York State is committed to safely integrating UAS into the national airspace and ensuring a successful lift-off for UAS commercialization.

Why Central New York and the Mohawk Valley?

  1. Expertise — Central New York and the Mohawk Valley are home to a robust network of UAS-related companies with significant research and manufacturing capabilities, including Lockheed Martin, Harris Corporation, AIS, Saab, SRC and Gryphon Sensors.
  2. Project UAS Secure Autonomous Flight Environment (U-SAFE) — The state’s investment in Project U-SAFE is coupled with a partnership with the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) Alliance and collaboration with the FAA and NASA as well as local, national and international partners.
    • The NUSTAR (National UAS Standardized Testing and Rating) facility — A key component of Project U-SAFE, it will be the world’s first dedicated UAS testing and certification facility.
    • UTM Corridor — New York State has invested $35 million to develop a 50-mile operational UAS Traffic Management (UTM) corridor that will enable Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight.
  3. Griffiss International Airport in Rome, NY — Managed by NUAIR Alliance and home to the world-renowned Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) with $1 billion in annual R&D expenditures and C4I technology specialization, this FAA-designated test site is one of seven in the nation and has world-class instrumentation that is highly conducive for real-world application and testing.
  4. GENIUS NY — The world’s largest start-up business accelerator for the UAS industry, GENIUS NY has awarded $2.75 million to companies in its annual in-residence competition at The Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse.
  5. Location – the ideal topography for drone testing. Flight is possible in both the empty acres of airspace in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley as well as the crowded corridors of commercial airspace in the Northeast.
  6. Education— New York State is #1 in the Northeast in the total number of STEM graduates annually. Central New York and the Mohawk Valley are home to scores of academic institutions, which provide a well-educated and skilled workforce for the growing UAS industry. Syracuse University and Mohawk Valley Community College have UAS-focused programs that are pioneering workforce development across all sectors of UAS support. More than 70 public- and private-sector partners and academic institutions are connected to the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems and business incubators that nurture fledgling UAS-related enterprises.

New York State: Unmanned Aerial Systems

See how New York State is leading the way in UAS development.

Additional Facts

  • New York State is making industry-defining investments with a commitment to growing the UAS industry over the next five years
  • $520 million upgrade of Griffiss International Airport, including a $4 million investment for sense-and-avoid technology
  • 80 million potential customers within 200 miles of the Griffiss International Airport test site and 500 miles or less from 13 of the top 50 U.S.  markets
  • 415,000+ people work in the UAS supply-chain industries throughout New York State*
  • 29,000+ UAS supply-chain firms — 1,500+ in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley contribute $1.8 billion in wages to the local economies*

*Source: Unmanned Aerial Systems in New York State: A Potential Supply Chain Analysis, Prepared by the UB Regional Institute, November 2015


For more information on the UAS industry in New York State, contact our Regional Offices:

Central New York

James Fayle, Director
620 Erie Boulevard West – Suite 112 Syracuse, NY 13204
(315) 425-9110
[email protected]

Mohawk Valley

Michael Reese, Director
207 Genesee Street Utica, NY 13501
(315) 793-2366
[email protected]