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Unmanned Aircraft Systems

North Dakota is a proven leader in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) with the experience, resources and leadership to help drive the industry's growth. The state is one of six Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS test sites conducting research to determine how to best integrate UAS into the national airspace. The FAA certified the Northern Plains UAS Test Site as the first site ready for operations in April 2014.

North Dakota, along with its stakeholders and partners, is committed to creating an environment where private enterprise, public and private research organizations, and educational institutions may pursue new and exciting opportunities in the UAS industry.




The University of North Dakota supports a ground-based, ganged phased array radar system capable of sensing manned or unmanned aircraft within
North Dakota. 
Photo courtesy of Ben Trapnell.

Fly with a Leader

North Dakota has the experience, resources and leadership to receive an FAA UAS test site designation and help drive the industry's growth.

North Dakota was named the "Best Run State" according to 24/7 Wall Street and ranked #3 for "Overall Business Climate" in a 2013 Pollina Report.

North Dakota offers legendary business opportunities with world-class expertise from our research universities, easy access to government officials and a network of existing high-tech businesses.

A Strong UAS Team

North Dakota is home to a growing cluster of UAS research, business and military interests. Partnerships among private businesses, universities and state government strengthen North Dakota's position as a leader in UAS.


"North Dakota stands ready to continue its support for developing a UAS test site in North Dakota and its investment in making North Dakota a national hub for UAS advancements." — Governor Jack Dalrymple
  • The University of North Dakota is a world leader in aerospace education, UAS operations and safety. UND offers one of the most established UAS undergraduate programs in the nation.
  • North Dakota State University possesses expertise in electronics engineering and computing technologies.
  • The Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority focuses on safety, privacy and development of technologies, principles and procedures for UAS integration into the national airspace. The Authority oversees the Northern Plains UAS Test Site which is one of six FAA-designated UAS test sites in the nation.
  • North Dakota Aeronautics Commission plays a lead role in aviation safety.
  • The Office of the Adjutant General provides a key link to UAS use for military applications.
  • High-tech North Dakota businesses and their partners create an environment where collaboration and synergy result in new business opportunities.
  • State leadership is committed to making North Dakota a hub for UAS advancement.
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