NEWS: Northrop Grumman Opens North Dakota UAS Facility

nggrandforks2Global security company Northrop Grumman held a ribbon cutting event on April 21st. to officially mark the start of operations at its 36,000-square-foot facility located at Grand Sky.

The company is a major provider of systems and technology to the U.S. Air Force, including the RQ-4 Global Hawk, a large autonomous aircraft system which is used at nearby Grand Forks Air Force Base. Northrop Grumman was the first tenant to sign a lease at Grand Sky and broke ground for its facility on Oct. 15, 2015.

“Congratulations are very much in order to Northrop Grumman for its continued commitment to moving the UAS industry forward,” says Thomas Swoyer Jr., president of Grand Sky Development Company. “They recognized early on the unique synergies that Grand Sky offers for experienced UAS firms who are moving to bridge the gap between military and commercial uses, and now they can begin to capitalize on that foresight. We look forward to continuing to support their efforts and watching as they take UAS applications to new heights.”

Northrop Grumman intends to use its Grand Sky facility primarily for research and development, aircrew and maintenance training, operations and mission analysis, along with aircraft maintenance. The facility is positioned in an anchor space along the alert pad at Grand Sky, which allows quick access to the Grand Forks Air Force Base runway for launch and recovery operations.

Through Grand Sky, the company will also have ongoing access to assistance from the Northern Plains UAS Test Site when needed, flight logistics support from InnoVets, collaborative opportunities with other UAS entities at the park and throughout North Dakota, and perhaps most importantly, ready access to a skilled workforce through the state’s many UAS training programs.

“We are delighted to officially begin operations here at Grand Sky cementing our leadership in the development and use of autonomous systems in partnership with North Dakota’s UAS community,” said Janis Pamiljans, corporate vice president and president Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “The important work performed at Grand Sky will support the evolving needs of our customers while advancing research and development of our autonomous systems capabilities for today and the future.”

Northrop Grumman’s 36,000-sq-ft building was completed late last year, and employees began working there shortly thereafter, the company said. The facility serves as a site for research and development, aircrew and maintenance training, operations and mission analysis and aircraft maintenance. According to the business park, the building “is positioned in an anchor space along the alert pad at Grand Sky,” allowing quick access to the runway of adjacent Grand Forks Air Force Base for launch and recovery operations.

General Atomics announced in September 2015 that it had signed a 10-year lease at Grand Sky to build a UAStraining academy. It has since been operating from temporary facilities at the park, and last July announced the first flight there of a company-owned Predator A. In August, General Atomics graduated its first class of three Predator A pilots, who underwent classroom training in Grand Forks. It expected to add a second training track for the Predator B, which the Air Force has designated the MQ-9 Reaper.

General Atomics has said that it plans to complete construction of its new 16,000-sq-ft flight operations center this spring.


Source: Press Release


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