Hoeven: Navy Awards $17 Million Contract to Ideal Aerosmith for ISR, Mission Planning Tech Development

As Member of Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, Senator Secured Increased Funding, Worked with Navy to Advance Research Contract

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded a $17 million contract to Ideal Aerosmith in Grand Forks. Under the contract, Ideal Aerosmith will develop an Expeditionary Mission Support Station, which:

  • Includes a mission planning suite for special operations as well as a ground station for controlling multiple unmanned aircraft and sensor systems.
  • Enables mission planners to access classified and non-classified information in one place, including data from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, like those flown out of the Grand Forks Air Force Base. 
  • Allows ISR and other sensor data to be more readily available for re-planning of a mission based on changing weather conditions or new threats that are encountered.
  • This improves the effectiveness of ISR operations and makes special operations planning faster, easier and more flexible.

As a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, Hoeven has worked with Ideal Aerosmith and the Navy to advance this research contract. Across fiscal years (FY) 2020-2021, the senator secured increased funding through annual appropriations bills for ONR to improve unmanned aerial systems (UAS) payloads and performance, consistent with the contract awarded today.

“Ideal Aerosmith has been an important success story in our efforts to expand North Dakota’s technology sector, and today’s award leverages their past work in UAS to strengthen our nation’s ISR operations,” said Senator Hoeven. “The technology developed under this contract will help missions across the globe to be better informed, supporting the safety and effectiveness of our servicemembers.”

“The Ideal team is excited to continue this effort to provide real time situational planning to our servicemembers,” said Greg Owens, CEO of Ideal Aerosmith. “We are so grateful to the senator and his office for their support of a strong national defense. We could not provide these solutions without the senator and his staff’s support.”

Today’s award is part of Hoeven’s broader efforts to provide competitive research opportunities for North Dakota universities and businesses. To this end, the senator worked to fund the following priorities in FY2021, in addition to the ISR research: 

  • $17 million for the DoD Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCOR) program, of which UND and NDSU are a part.
  • $7 million for developing advanced power and battery systems for spacecraft, which supports the partnership between Packet Digital and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
  • $5 million for augmented reality systems for Army vehicles, which UND is currently helping develop.
  • $2.5 million to support a new silicone solar cell research project at NDSU.