Utah Aerospace & Defense Association and Deseret UAS Join Forces in a Strategic Consolidation

The Utah Aerospace & Defense Association (UADA) and Deseret Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have announced that they will be consolidating efforts to better collaborate and advocate on behalf of Utah’s aerospace and defense industry. Both organizations represent companies in Utah valued at trillions of dollars collectively and as public-private partnerships, they share a vision to foster the world’s premier ecosystem for Utah’s aerospace and defense companies.

Going forward, UADA will lead the organizations’ respective efforts with Deseret UAS being restructured as UADA’s newly created Advanced Aviation and Technology Committee (AATC). Shawn Milne, Deseret UAS board chair, will chair the AATC under the leadership of UADA President and CEO Aaron Starks.

“The seamless and synergistic alignment between UADA and Deseret UAS creates a unique opportunity for this collaborative partnership,” says Aaron Starks. “Together, we will advocate for policies, regulations, and research that directly support our members.”

Deseret UAS has been the premier organization in Utah dedicated to advanced air mobility (AAM) since its founding in 2018. The organization has provided unparalleled access to several large flight test ranges with miles of wide-open land and air. It has centralized information sharing and best practices for AAM companies in Utah, and fostered applied research that helped to commercialize AAM-related technologies.

“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,” says Deseret UAS Chair Shawn Milne. “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 unmanned aerial vehicles and transportation systems that will be used for the roads of the future.”

UADA, established in 2022, boasts dozens of members both in the public and private sector, including Northrop Grumman, Fortem Technologies, Hexcel, the Utah System of Higher Education, the Utah Governor’s Office, and many more. The organization’s goal is to ensure all companies in Utah’s aerospace and defense industry have the tools they need to succeed.

“Advanced air mobility is the way of the future and has the potential to fundamentally reshape our lives,” says UADA Chair Robert C. O’Brien. “Through this organizational consolidation and UADA’s efforts going forward, Utah will continue to be at the epicenter of making these innovations a reality.”

Deseret UAS has laid the groundwork for the advanced air mobility industry in Utah to really take off. Stan Summers, Deseret UAS Board member, says, “We look forward to working with UADA to advocate on behalf of their members for our shared priorities.”

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