image description

Research and Development

Vanguard Defense Industries is currently operating in collaboration with the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP).  The goal of SATOP is to help small businesses apply the technical expertise derived from the US space program. Made up of an Alliance of more than 45 space companies, universities, colleges, and NASA centers (Johnson Space Center,  Texas, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and White Sands Test Facility, New Mexico), SATOP finds professionals within these companies who volunteer their time and expertise in solving the challenges brought forth by the inquiring businesses.

Programs and Projects

Vanguard is striving to set the standard for excellence in the class I & II UAV industry.  Our ongoing programs and projects continue to stay focused on the warfighter and law enforcement professional with an understanding that our systems can substantially contribute to the U.S. commercial market.

Vanguard Defense Industries is proud to announce the pairing of VDI’s Research and Development Division with Texas A&M’s Aerospace Engineering Department.  According to Michael Buscher, Vanguard’s Founder and CEO, “This relationship with academia will ensure VDI’s continued prominence in the rotor wing UAS market for many years to come”.  In addition to leveraging the knowledge, skills and abilities of A&M research staff and Graduate Student program, VDI will begin utilization of five internationally recognized research facilities to include; TEES Flight Research Laboratory, Flight Mechanics Lab, Dynamics and control lab, National Aerotherochemistry Lab and the Structural Dynamic Testing Lab.

Individual Testing Facilities

Flight Research Laboratory

The TEES Flight Research Laboratory is located at a hanger near the General Aviation facilities at Easterwood Airport in College Station. Directly across the street is the Wind Tunnel Complex housing the 7×10 Lowspeed Wind Tunnel, the NASA-Langley Mach 6 Quiet Tunnel, the Mach 7 Research Tunnel, and the Klebanoff/Saric Unsteady Wind Tunnel. The lab owns three aircrafts: the Cessna O-2 (military version of the Cessna 337 Skymaster) for heavy instrumentation, observation, and data transmission; the Stemme S-10 VT powered sailplane for its ultra-low disturbance environment, and high-altitude capabilities; and the Velocity XL-5 for its high-speed, pusher configuration.

Flight Mechanics Lab

The Flight Mechanics Lab flight test facility is used for experimental research, flight demonstrations, and FAA certification of small to medium sized unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). This 5,000 square foot facility is located in Hanger 7046, next to the control tower at the Old Bryan Air base (83TX). Also known as the A&M Riverside, this 1,900 acre campus is located west of Bryan on Highway 21 just past the small town of Smetana. A 7,000 foot runway is retained in “active” status for UAS flight testing. Unmanned Aircraft at this lab include a ShadowHawk MK-II,  R/C Rascal 110 airplane, a Bergen R/C helicopter, and two custom-built small Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (TUAV). Two manned aircraft are also maintained for chase duties: a Piper Super Cub and a Schweizer 2-32 Sailplane. The facility also includes ground-based UAS flight test equipment, an instrumented small engine test stand, and a complete workshop.

Dynamics and Control Lab

This laboratory is used to conduct experiments on a variety of dynamical systems. A Contraves air bearing permits one-arc-second precision pointing of various experiments. The lab has been used to develop star sensors, relative navigation sensors, robots for ground emulation of spacecraft rendezvous and docking, and to conduct vibration suppression experiments for space structures. Faculty supervisor:

National Aerothermochemistry Lab

The Texas A&M University National Aerothermochemistry (TAMUNA) Laboratory is a graduate research facility founded by Professor R. Bowersox to perform leading research and to house unique facilities in support of National interests in high-speed gasdynamics, unsteady flows, and flows with thermal and chemical non-equilibrium effects. Primary sponsorship is provided by the US Air Force, Army and NASA. The laboratory is a true multidisciplinary research resource, with significant faculty involvement from both Aerospace Engineering and Chemistry. The laboratory is currently considered a National Resource by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Structural Dynamics Testing Lab

The Structural Dynamics Testing Lab exists for the dynamic testing of components and assemblies. The room contains a test frame capable of handling objects up to 25 feet long and weighing up to 2,000 pounds. Equipment and instrumentation in this lab centers around dynamic testing and evaluation of structures, including various shakers, accelerometers and stain guages. This lab and its equipment are also used for an undergraduate instrumentation lab.

Vanguard Internship Program (VIP)

In 2010, VDI implemented the Vanguard Internship Program (VIP) in conjunction with the Texas A&M Aerospace Department.  This program allows for students of A&M to intern with VDI for extended periods and gain firsthand practical experience in the UAS industry.  After a rigorous selection process interns are introduced to the VDI R&D process, taking an active role in everyday operations.  Students in the VIP program will be provided the opportunity to serve on the Flight Team and will learn the various engineering roles with the company to include payload technician, avionics engineer, External Pilot, Air Vehicle Operator, and Payload Operator.  If you are currently enrolled at Texas A&M and wish to enroll in the VIP, please click the TAMU logo below and a VDI representative will contact you.


For more information, please contact us directly.