MSU awarded $18.7M contract for UAS research for U.S. Homeland Security

Mississippi State University (MSU) has secured a five-year, $18.7 million contract with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) to lead a significant research, testing and evaluation project on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The award marks MSU’s second time leading the project on behalf of the DHS, and is expected to enable MSU to continue scouting, evaluating and testing cutting-edge UAS technologies while developing a cost-effective prototype UAS tailored specifically to DHS needs. Additionally, the contract requires MSU to conduct cybersecurity vulnerability assessments for UAS aircraft.

The Raspet Flight Research Laboratory, an MSU-affiliated research centre, will spearhead the new project. With the help of MSU’s resources in high-performance computing, cybersecurity, advanced materials and remote sensing, the team will conduct research to enhance the DHS’s UAS capabilities.

MSU has a rich history of innovation in the UAS field, including its role as lead for the FAA’s UAS Center of Excellence for UAS Research, or ASSURE, and Raspet’s designation as the FAA’s UAS Safety Research Facility in 2020. The university was previously awarded the contract to lead Homeland Security’s Common UAS Test Site in 2017, an initiative that allows MSU to provide UAS testing, evaluation and full-scale exercise capabilities for more than two dozen simulated security threat scenarios.

Tom Brooks, Raspet director, expressed enthusiasm for the lab’s continued growth, noting that the project provides opportunities for students and researchers on campus. MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Julie Jordan, emphasized the significance of the award for national security and the Mississippi region, adding that the new contract is a testament to the excellent work being done at the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory.

To learn more about the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory and its ongoing research, please visit

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