The Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration - RDT&E, or ACUASI, was established in December 2012 by the University of Alaska Board of Regents in recognition of the importance and growth of the unmanned aircraft program. It was established under the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the Geophysical Institute where it originated, but was given the role of leading all unmanned aircraft programs for the entire University of Alaska system. It was also tasked to pursue opportunities with the FAA.

The program originated in 2001, and over the years has expanded its scope, the equipment it operates, and the variety and complexity of research projects it executes. In 2013 ACUASI submitted a proposal to the FAA to become one of the six test sites established by the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. In December 2013, FAA announced that the University of Alaska had been selected. The Pan Pacific UAS Test Range Complex reports to the ACUASI, but also includes principal partners in Oregon and Hawaii as well as 56 non-state partners located all over the U.S. and internationally. Ranges are located in the three states as well as in Iceland, our key international partner.