USAS Opens Drone Repair Facility
Afghan Experience Prompts Creation of Fundamental Support Service
Unmanned Systems and Solutions (USAS), a new small, veteran-owned business, has opened a 120,000ft2 professional drone repair facility capable of rapidly assessing and repairing drones from most major manufacturers.
With the industry poised on the brink of a major increase in the use of UAS (drones), the necessity for such a facility has become glaringly obvious. And USAS founder Pete Dwyer has hands-on experience of that necessity. “Flying SCAN EAGLE combat missions in Afghanistan, I learned how important a robust repair capability was to our operations. I was surprised upon returning home that no nationwide, highly professional repair capability existed in the US. That’s why we founded USAS,” he explained. The company has in-house repair, parts fabrication and testing facilities run by technicians with decades of experience repairing highly sensitive and mission critical electronic equipment.
The USAS business model appears to be oriented, at least initially, towards the consumer/hobbyist end of the UAS market: one which is likely to see significant growth in the next two to three years, especially in the US. Customers will generate a mailing label on the USAS website to ship their drone; the company will then provide an evaluation report and repair estimate within 48 hours (for an evaluation fee of $29.95) – most repairs take less than a week and cost under $200, according to the company.
That would seem to be a pretty robust model for a new business sailing into relatively uncharted waters. It holds implications, however, for the community that has championed the use of UAS over the last decade and more – the armed forces. To date, military repairs and maintenance have been conducted at the point of service or, in more drastic cases, the UAS may have been returned to the manufacturer or written off from inventory. The existence of a facility such as USAS (and peer organisations that will undoubtedly emerge in other regions) may prompt a re-evaluation of that strategy, however. In straitened financial circumstances, the use of a cost-effective commercial facility such as USAS offers simply makes good sense, even though there would be regulatory and administrative hurdles to be surmounted in, for instance, setting up the company’s services under a GSA contract to make it simple for government users to maximise the opportunity.
Quite simply, this is an idea (and an initiative) whose time has definitely come.