Governor Hochul Announces Completion of $13 Million Skydome, Nation’s Largest Indoor UAS Testing Center in Oneida County
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the completion of the Skydome facility in the Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome, Oneida County. Located in a former airplane hangar, this cutting-edge, indoor facility is the largest indoor drone test facility in the nation and a transformational investment in New York’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site at Oneida County.
“New York State has made bold investments to create a competitive environment to attract high tech companies from around the world,” Governor Hochul said. “Skydome joins a growing number of technology companies in calling New York their home and cements Mohawk Valley’s status as a global center for innovation. We will remain laser-focused on continuing our landmark investments throughout the state, and forge strong partnerships between all levels of government partner and the public sector.”
“The completion of the Skydome UAS Testing Center is a huge win for New York State, making it the largest facility of its kind in the nation,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “Revitalization initiatives like this one are proof that New York is on the right track. This new cutting-edge facility places New York at the forefront of unmanned aerial vehicle development.”
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. said, “Like the Wolfspeed chip fab, and the soon-to-be completed MVHS Wynn Hospital and Nexus Center sports complex, the opening of Skydome is another transformational project that will spur new jobs and investment in Oneida County, and further demonstrates why we have one of the most robust and diverse economies in the Northeast. From its inception, this ambitious county project set out to solidify Oneida County and New York State as the global epicenter for drone research and development and with today’s Skydome opening, we have done just that.”
Empire State Development President and CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “UAS technology has the potential to unlock new avenues of economic growth in areas such as public safety and ecommerce, and the New York State’s forward-thinking investments in this industry has attracted significant investment from both the public and private sectors. Skydome is the latest transformational project that will drive industry growth and innovation in the Mohawk Valley for generations to come.”
Skydome will support collaborative efforts between the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate and the New York UAS Test Site, leveraging the region’s high tech commercial and academic ecosystem supporting the development of technologies for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems to operate safely and securely in the National Air Space.
With the completion of Skydome, New York State is now home to the largest indoor Anechoic Chambered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle experimentation facility in the United States, and will provide year-round, indoor testing of advanced drone technologies, including artificial intelligence-based flight controls and autonomous swarms of small drones.
Skydome is located in a facility owned by Oneida County which also houses Innovare Advancement Center, where the Griffiss Institute powers the region’s innovation ecosystem in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, neuromorphic computing, nanoelectronics, quantum computing and UAS. It also contains the Drone Command Center for the New York State Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site, one of only seven FAA-Designated unmanned aircraft systems test sites in the United States.
This $13 million project created and developed by Oneida County, is funded by $4 million from the county, and supported by the State through a $4.5 million grant from the CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative and $4.5 million grant from the Mohawk Valley Upstate Revitalization Initiative. State Senator Joseph Griffo has also secured a $950,000 grant for the facility.
The Skydome test site is part of the ever-growing 3,500-acre Griffiss Business and Technology Park, a former U.S. Air Force Base, which is now home to a multitude of high-tech, world-leading companies in cyber security, quantum computing, manufacturing among others that employs nearly 6,000 people.
Skydome is just the latest infrastructure investment at Griffiss International Airport that has been made bv Oneida County. In 2019, the county invested $15.5 million to replace antiquated central steam heat in the hangars with new radiant heating dramatically changing the cost structure and making the facilities cost-competitive. At the same time, the county invested another $5.6 million in creating the Innovare Advancement Center which is leading the way in helping to foster a high-tech ecosystem in support of the Air Force Research Lab and the UAS Test Site.