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AUVSI: Oklahoma aims high with UAS business push

Oklahoma is seeking to leverage its aerospace industry past and become a force in the new world of unmanned systems.

"The buzz phrase that we like to use among ourselves is we want to make Oklahoma the fly-to state, not the fly-over state, for unmanned aerial systems," said Stephen McKeever, the state's secretary of science and technology.

The new push is coming from the top down: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has set up an advisory committee on UAS, which McKeever heads. Fallin visited the Oklahoma booth at the show on Tuesday.

Oklahoma has an aerospace education presence through its main universities and access to various installations where unmanned systems could be developed and flown. The state has also set up a new AUVSI chapter, the Unmanned Systems Alliance of Oklahoma (USA-OK).

"We're in this for the long term," McKeever said. "We hope that when people think of UAS, they think of Oklahoma. Even if initially they only come to test and evaluate the technology, we hope eventually that they will at least establish some presence within the state, and even move."