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Hawthorne Press Release

Hawthorne Press Release

Las Vegas, Nev. – Dubbed “Operation Hawthorne Discovery,” on Friday, Dec. 11 several Nevada companies, agencies and institutions introduced the Hawthorne, Nevada area as The destination and center for unmanned autonomous systems research and development.


The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) collaborated with the Hawthorne Army Depot and the community of Hawthorne, Nevada to showcase an all-in-one Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) development, testing and training site known as the Hawthorne Advanced Drone Multiplex (HADM).   HADM is focused on UAS research, development, and advanced training applications.  The R&D and training applications at the HADM span the industry fields of urban operations, infrastructure, agricultural, wildlife, surveying and mapping and high altitude training to name a few.


Operation Hawthorne Discovery was supported by the Nevada Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center (NAAIC) from University of Nevada Reno, Hawthorne Army Depot & SOC, Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS), AboveNV, Carbon Autonomous Systems, from Reno, NV,  Skyworks and Brainlike from Las Vegas, NV.  Participant / Observer Organizations include Desert Research Institute (DRI), Las Vegas, UNLV, Las Vegas, Reno-Tahoe International Airport, Reno-Stead Airport, Silver Springs Airport, Verascan Inc., Henderson, NV, Flirtey, Inc., Reno, NV. BattleSpace, Las Vegas, NV.


The Governor’s office of Economic Development (GOED) is promoting the state as the destination for the UAS industry. Nevada is one of the six official test sites designated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for UAS flight testing, safety management and data collection.  Along with the FAA test site designation, GOED also sponsored the recently-formed Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS), a non-profit organization focused on advancing the UAS industry in Nevada by managing the test site, opening airspace, facilitating research, development and test of autonomous vehicles.


“The NIAS mission is very clear:  to bring in UAS training units to Nevada and put airframes in the air and people on the ground to glean flight data and lessons learned for the FAA so that full and safe integration can occur by February 2017.  We could not do this without the support of grass roots and local community support.  We are very lucky to have a very supportive Nevada community for UAS operations.  

This is a hidden gold mine of opportunities,” Chris Walach director of Operations at NIAS, said, “A central location for central Nevada… There are over 200 square miles of area that can be used by the UAS industry from Nevada and beyond for R&D, Proof of Concept testing and training.”


“This will be a national resource for industry and institutions, this is an initiative to show the awesome capabilities for research and training in unmanned autonomous systems for ground, air and water, all in one place,” Warren Rapp, business director for the University of Nevada, Reno’s Nevada Advanced Autonomous Innovation Center, said.“


Lt. Col. Gregory Gibbons, commander of HWAD, said “We’re excited to be part of this developing industry.  Upon NIAS vetting and clearance through our installation security process, HWAD can provide our industry partners the infrastructure and testing locations through the U.S. Army’s Armament Retooling and Manufacturing Support Program to support establishment of a world class UAS testing center.”
Media Contact:

Mark Barker

Director of Business Development

Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS)

On Behalf of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development

400 South, 4th Street, Suite 500

Las Vegas, Nevada  89101

Office: 702-793-4218