Hoeven: General Atomics Will More Than Triple Presence at Grand Sky

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today joined General Atomics Aeronautical Systems CEO Linden Blue to announce that General Atomics will more than triple its presence at Grand Sky Technology Park. General Atomics and Grand Sky signed an agreement today to lease additional space, including a hanger for flight training and aircraft maintenance, facilities and classrooms. 

“We’ve worked hard to put in place the pieces to ensure our state is leading the way in UAS research and development,” said Hoeven. “The agreement reached today between General Atomics and the Grand Sky Technology Park is further proof that North Dakota is the place for all things UAS and we look forward to the opportunities and economic growth this will bring to our state.”

Hoeven played a key role in bringing General Atomics, as well as Northrop Grumman, to Grand Sky to establish its training academy. Hoeven held multiple meetings, both in Washington and North Dakota, with General Atomics leadership in a bid to locate the UAS training center in the Grand Forks area. Hoeven announced the 10-year lease between Grand Sky and General Atomics, helped break ground on the facility in 2015 and marked its grand opening in 2017.

Hoeven has been working to leverage Grand Sky’s training facilities to help address the shortage of UAS pilots. Hoeven secured legislation in the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that allows the National Guard to send unmanned aircraft pilots to a civilian contractor, like General Atomics, for training if the Air Force lacks the capacity to train pilots in a timely fashion. As a member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Committee, Hoeven also included $10 million in the Senate’s FY2019 funding legislation for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to use contractors, like those at Grand Sky, to train UAS pilots to help address the pilot shortage and increase the use of its UAS fleet for border surveillance.