Hoeven: New Project Brings Practical Benefits of UAS To U.S. Military

Senator Secured FY23 Funding for DOD Contract with Grand Forks County to Launch Project ULTRA 

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today announced the start of Project UAS Logistics, Traffic, Research and Autonomy (Project ULTRA), a new effort to leverage UAS technology on behalf of our men and women in uniform. The goal of Project ULTRA is to go from research to practice, and to demonstrate a variety of UAS applications that will benefit Grand Forks Air Force Base but also provide a template for UAS activities at installations across the country, including development of practical UAS applications like supply delivery, base inspections and installation security. Project ULTRA is the result of Hoeven’s efforts as a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee to secure $2.5 million in Fiscal Year 2023 funding for the project, which is an open contract valued at up to $18.25 million that can continue to receive funding in subsequent years. Hoeven has already secured additional funding that can be used to continue the contract in Fiscal Year 2024.

Today, the County of Grand Forks approved the initial Defense Department contract. The County will then use the funding to leverage the expertise of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site and Grand Sky Technology Park as well as the relationship with Grand Forks Air Force Base to advance traffic management, counter-UAS capabilities for DOD Bases and on-base applications for small UAS. 

“Grand Forks is the right place for the Defense Department to conduct cutting-edge UAS research and development and this contract is an important step in an exciting new chapter for UAS in North Dakota,” said Hoeven. “Project ULTRA will demonstrate how UAS can be used to support every day activities at Grand Forks Air Force Base and other military installations, including delivering supplies and inspecting base infrastructure as well as developing practical ways of securing military installations from UAS threats. This contract between the Department of Defense and Grand Forks County enables us to begin establishing new, real-life UAS projects at Grand Sky and on the Grand Forks Air Force Base.”

The details of the contract are being negotiated and Hoeven plans to announce specific Project ULTRA initiatives in the coming weeks.