$18M Dayton UAS project anticipating $4M funding bump

The funding will allow for further investment into the institution's R&D and training efforts.

A Dayton college that has more than 34,000 students awaits approval of a large portion of funding for a project to better serve the growing Unmanned Aerial Systems industry. The project will help the industry develop technology and procedures to improve the quality of products and the growth of businesses in the region.

Sinclair Community College, located at 444 W. Third St. Dayton, is planning an 18 million dollar effort to expand its small UAS fleet. This will include aircrafts that weigh more than 55 pounds.

There are also cargo delivery systems and passenger air vehicles. The expansion of the fleet will enable further research and developments, academic instruction and hands-on learning for real-world application in both private and public sector.

Jeff Miller, Sinclair Community College Vice President for Administration, said that the Dayton area is uniquely positioned to continue growth and development of the UAS Industry.

According to Teal Group’s World Civil Unmanned Aerial Systems Market Profile and Forecast 2020/2021 sector study, the civil government and commercial UAS markets are ripe with lucrative business opportunities.

The non-military UAS will reach $108 billion in the next decade. The market is expected to grow from $5 billion by 2020 to $18.4billion in 2029. This represents a Compound Annual Growth rate of 15.6%.

Miller stated that this data confirms the trend of the past decade which has shown a strong demand in the UAS technology and commercial applications, as well as robust educational programs. This has increased in the last few years, partly due to the pandemic. It is therefore imperative that the leading educational and applied-research institutions, such as Sinclair, continue investing in the latest technologies and larger systems, while regulations are developed to allow their full integration into and commercial application in the near term.

In his Project Funding Submissions, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, recommended funding for the Large-Sized UAS Acquisition and Training Initiative Project, as well as a dozen other projects. The Dayton Region Priority Development & Advocacy Committee has designated this project as a top priority. It will provide a significant benefit for the region if it is funded.

Turner increased the amount of funding to $4 million from the initial $2.8 million requested by the college through PDAC.

Sinclair has invested an additional $4 million in the Sinclair UAS Center. This is on top of the $11.5 million capital and operating dollars that Sinclair has already invested. Sinclair is willing to provide any matching funds necessary to complete the equipment purchase.

The project is scheduled for fiscal year 2024 and would create 50 jobs, with salaries between $50,000 and $75,000, and sustain 500 jobs.

Miller stated that the Unmanned Aerial Systems industry would reshape American life in a major way and represent a huge opportunity for Dayton Region. Miller said that while the UAS sector offers many opportunities, it will take both resources and highly-trained staff to grow.