Why, Mississippi of course! Except in Mississippi, our Seals fly Pumas. The Seals of the Navy Special Warfare Group have been flying Puma unmanned aerial systems at the Stennis Space Center for quite a while now as part of their extensive mission readiness training. And, yes, Seal Team Six trained at Stennis numerous times before deploying on their mission to take out the world’s most wanted terrorist.
Why did Seal Team Six choose Mississippi? Well, for the same reasons our state makes for a great place to test unmanned aerial systems like the Puma. We have hundreds of thousands of acres of secluded test range territory in a variety of land, riverine and maritime environments. There’s plenty of UAS-savvy help here at Stennis, too – from Mississippi State University to Navy Research Labs to NOAA and NASA – and we’re UAS-friendly on the Gulf Coast. In fact, Mississippi and our neighbor Louisiana are two of just seven states without any anti-drone legislation pending or in place. That’s why we’re a strong contender for a UAS test site certification.
Oh, and congrats to the good people at AeroVironment for building the first hand-held UAS cleared for commercial operations by the FAA!
If you want to read more about Seal Team Six at Stennis, check out “No Easy Day” by Bin Laden Raid Vet Mark Owen. For the record, we’re mentioned in there quite a bit!
Maj Gen James Poss, USAF (ret)
Director of Strategic Initiatives
High Performance Computing Collaboratory, Mississippi State University