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  5. Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Directorate

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Directorate



RQ21 Launch

UASTD’s mission is to provide operators, unmanned aircraft assets, maintenance, operational and safety oversight, and facility support to conduct research, development, test and evaluation, and experimentation (RDTE&E) of all assigned Navy/Marine Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) across the broad range of UAS complexities including fixed and rotary wing autonomous, semi-autonomous and remotely piloted aircraft.

Supported Platforms:


UASTD currently provides RDTE&E services for Groups 1-4 UAS, including fielded platforms such as Wasp, RQ-11 Raven, RQ-20B Puma, RQ-21 Blackjack and MQ-8 Firescout. Located at Webster Outlying Field (WOLF) in Southern Maryland, the directorate takes advantage of WOLF’s unique capabilities including:

  • Two 5,000-foot runways
  • Direct entry into restricted operating areas; no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) coordination needed
  • Exclusive-use areas available for small UAS
  • Proximity to water for UAS maritime operations
  • Dedicated UASTD operations center

UASTD’s team is comprised of experts in the unmanned aircraft test community from engineers and air vehicle operators to United States Naval Test Pilot School graduates. In addition to supporting programs of record, the team also supports warfighter Urgent Needs Statements as well as test demands from sister services, other government agencies and research institutions. To streamline UAS test and operations, UASTD maintains the following:

  • A “Blanket” Category 3 Interim Flight Clearance that covers all government-owned Group 1 UAS operating with UASTD at Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) ranges for both land- and ship-based operations
  • Close working relationship with Atlantic Test Range Safety for rapid assessment and mitigation of potential UAS hazards
  • Airspace scheduling expertise to meet the customer’s needs from concurrent UAS operations to exclusive-use airspace
  • Frequency spectrum management and/or oversight

Personnel reporting to, inquiring about, or visiting UASTD at Webster Field may reach the unit via the UASTD Administrative Office at (301) 995-8040.