Hoeven: Northrop Grumman Facility Will House Pilot Training and UAS Research and Development
Senator Recruited Anchor Tenant for UAS Technology & Business Park
GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today joined state, local and industry leaders in celebrating the grand opening of Northrop Grumman’s new 36,000 sq. ft. facility at the Grand Sky Technology Park. The global aerospace and defense technology giant’s new building will be used to conduct unmanned aerial systems (UAS) research and development, pilot, operator and maintenance training, mission analysis and aircraft maintenance. The company expects the facility to house 100 employees by the end of 2017 and plans to also build a hangar to take advantage of Grand Sky’s joint use agreement for the Grand Forks Air Force Base’s runway.
Hoeven first brought Northrop Grumman senior executives to North Dakota in 2012 to showcase opportunities in the Grand Forks region for UAS development and recruit the company as the anchor tenant for Grand Sky. As a result, the company committed to serve as the park’s first tenant, which was key to the senator’s efforts to secure an Enhanced Use Lease with the Air Force to establish Grand Sky.
“Northrop Grumman’s new multi-million dollar facility is an exciting addition to North Dakota’s UAS ecosystem,” Hoeven said. “Securing this company as the anchor tenant was central to Grand Sky’s creation and has opened a world of possibilities for UAS research, development and training in the Red River Valley. Our state’s industry continues to advance new technologies and applications for UAS, across areas like energy, agriculture and national security. That’s why we continue to support expanded operations, including beyond-line-of-sight, to integrate UAS into our national airspace and realize the full benefits of this technology.”
Hoeven has worked since his time as governor to establish North Dakota as a hub of UAS research, development and training. In addition to Northrop Grumman, the senator successfully recruited General Atomics to Grand Sky. The company opened a training academy at the park and launched its first UAS flight last July. Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Military Construction, continues working to allow the Air Force to use the academies at Grand Sky to train pilots for the MQ-9 Reaper, which is manufactured by General Atomics, to address the Air Force’s shortfall of pilot’s for this aircraft.
In addition, Hoeven recently invited Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly to North Dakota to see local efforts to develop UAS technology at Grand Sky and the Northern Plains Test Site, which the secretary accepted. The senator alsosuccessfully urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to authorize the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to oversee UAS operations that go beyond the line of sight. This authorization gives the state a competitive edge in working with government agencies to integrate UAS into the national airspace.
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