Hoeven: U.S. Air Force to Sign Enhanced Use Lease With Grand Forks County for Grand Sky

Lease Clears Path for New, High-Tech Business Park

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Air Force will sign an Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) with Grand Forks County in December for the development of Grand Sky, a cutting-edge unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technology park the county plans to build on approximately 217 acres at Grand Forks Air Force Base.

Under the terms of the agreement, the county will provide payments to the Air Force in exchange for a 50-year lease. The Air Force and county team members are working through final documents preparatory to the signing.

“This enhanced use lease agreement paves the way for a one-of-a-kind technology park at Grand Forks Air Force Base,” Hoeven said. “It will bolster our chances of getting one of six planned UAS test sites and stimulate private investment and job creation across the entire Grand Forks region.”

The pilot sites are the result of an amendment Hoeven introduced to the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill passed by Congress last year.

In May, Hoeven brought together Northrop Grumman and its partners for the signing of an historic strategic alliance agreement between the aerospace giant and the Grand Forks Base Realignment Impact Committee (BRIC), University of North Dakota (UND), UND Aerospace Foundation (UNDAF) and Northland Aerospace Foundation. The strategic alliance agreement paved the way for Grand Forks County and the Air Force to agree on terms for the EUL.

Northrop Grumman is working with its partners toward becoming the first tenant in the new high-tech complex. The county and its partners, the BRIC and the Center for Innovation Foundation, plan to make Grand Sky a state-of-the-art aviation business and technology park focused on providing cutting-edge facilities for unmanned aerial systems development.

Hoeven has pushed for the EUL with top Air Force officials, and has been working since last year with Thomas Vice, Northrop Grumman’s Corporate Vice President and President of its Aerospace Systems Sector, to help forge the new alliance. Last year, the senator brought Northrop Grumman senior executives, including Vice, to Grand Forks to explore the possibility of a partnership between the company, the Air Force and Grand Forks County.

Senator Hoeven is a member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee.