Hoeven Urges Top General to Locate Air Force Training Center at Grand Sky

Senator Also Pushes for Completion of Joint Use Agreement for Runway

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today made the case for Grand Sky as an ideal site to locate a training program in a call with Gen. Herbert J. “Hawk” Carlisle, Commander of Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base.

The Air Force needs more pilots to keep up with heavy demand for Predator and Reaper missions. Hoeven told the general that Grand Sky can provide the Air Force with a place to train UAS pilots and crews to help avert a pilot shortage.

“In our discussion with General Carlisle, I highlighted our strong support for the Global Hawk as well as the Predator mission, and also underscored the point that Grand Sky is a perfect fit for training Air Force pilots in UAS operations,” Hoeven said. “I also invited him to visit Grand Forks Air Force Base to meet the outstanding personnel who operate and maintain the UAS at the base and see for himself just how suitable Grand Sky would be to train the next generation of Air Force UAS pilots.”

Earlier this month, Hoeven announced that Northrop Grumman, maker of the Global Hawk, had signed a lease agreement that would make the aerospace and defense technology giant the anchor tenant in Grand Sky. Hoeven also met recently with General Atomics CEO Linden P. Blue and Vice President and retired general Ray Johns of FlightSafety International to encourage them to consider Grand Sky as a site for their unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) flight training programs.

General Atomics is one of the world’s leading developers of high-technology systems ranging from airborne sensors to advanced unmanned aerial systems (UAS), including the Predator series UAS, which are based at Grand Forks Air Force Base. FlightSafety International operates 40 Learning Centers and training locations in the United States and nine countries around the world.

Hoeven also asked Carlisle to work with him and Grand Forks officials to complete the review of an agreement between the Grand Sky technology park and Grand Forks Air Force Base to provide for joint use of the base’s runway. The agreement is the next step toward full operations at Grand Sky.

Completing this agreement, which Air Mobility Command already signed off on and forwarded to Air Combat Command for review ensures the tenants like Northrop Grumman at Grand Sky can operate their UAS aircraft alongside the base’s Global Hawks.

As the commander, Carlisle is responsible for organizing, training, equipping and maintaining combat-ready forces for rapid deployment and employment while ensuring strategic air defense forces are ready to meet the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime defense.