Indiana’s latest economic development initiative is already producing results. The National Center for Complex Operations (NCCO) announced today that BAE Systems’ Unmanned Aircraft Programs Group (UAP) in Tucson, AZ has signed on as its first customer, tapping into a multi-billion dollar industry that is expected to skyrocket in the next decade and create hundreds of jobs.
The NCCO integrates state, federal, military and academia’s support to both private industry and public sector entities seeking to use Indiana’s unique defense assets. The streamlined, “one-stop” approach provides customers with ease of access, cost savings and reduced waiting times.
“We create greater efficiencies for our customers and our costs are amongst the lowest in the nation,” said Matt Konkler, NCCO Executive Director.
“In a time of leaner defense budgets, creating cost effective solutions is critical to attract this type of business,” said Vice Admiral Mike Bucchi. A retired U.S. Naval officer, Bucchi is Vice Chair of the NCCO board of directors.
Incorporated by Indiana Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman at the beginning of 2012, the organization connects state, federal, and private interests with services, programs, and training and testing capabilities that serve the U.S. armed forces, government agencies and private industry.
“We believe this approach to economic development provides the best opportunity to grow business in the defense sector and related industries,” said Skillman. “Our new partnership with BAE Systems is just the beginning.”
While Unmanned Systems and Robotics is one of the organization’s key focus areas, the NCCO is also focusing on Cyber Systems, Power & Energy, Modeling and Simulation and Special Operations. All of these areas rely on an integrated, synergistic operating space to be most efficient and effective.
“We have a unique set of resources in Indiana and a commitment from our partners to fully integrate our approach,” said Konkler. “And we’re always looking for better ways, and new partners, to achieve success.”
Konkler pointed to a recent partnership between Indiana and Ohio to pursue one of six FAA test sites for Unmanned Aerial Systems as a great example. And he hopes to partner with other neighboring states to create a Midwestern option to customers seeking to utilize the region’s outstanding defense assets.
Konkler added that much of this work has practical implications well beyond the traditional defense sector, with law enforcement, Homeland Security, weather forecasting and even agricultural applications being tested and implemented.
“The potential in the unmanned systems arena alone is phenomenal,” said Konkler.
Konkler cited the level of cooperation amongst the Indiana National Guard, participating colleges and universities, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and numerous local, state and federal officials as critical to the success of this initiative.
“I have to commend the Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman, our Industry partners and all partner agencies committed to this process and to grow the defense business in Indiana. We’re already seeing positive results and we’re just getting started,” said Konkler.