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Dalrymple Announces $5.6 Million in Additional State Funding for Grand Sky UAS Park
Post Date: Jul 06 2015

By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced that Grand Forks County will receive $5.6 million in additional state funding to support the continued development of the Grand Sky Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Business and Aviation Park.
“I am pleased to announce that an additional $5.6 million in state funding is available for the continued development of Grand Sky, the nation’s first UAS business park,” Dalrymple said.  “North Dakota’s leadership in the growing UAS industry is attracting national attention and we remain committed to developing our expertise and assets into a national hub for UAS manufacturing, research and development.”
Of the $5.6 million in state funding, the state is providing $2.5 million following Grand Sky’s success in securing its first park tenant - global aerospace giant Northrop Grumman.  An additional $3.1 million in state funding is also available to upgrade a flight tarmac and other infrastructure that will support UAS testing and flight operations. The 2015 Legislature appropriated another $4.4 million contingent upon Grand Sky’s further development.
North Dakota has provided more than $30 million to advance UAS research and development and is collaborating with organizations statewide to build this emerging industry. Within its borders, North Dakota already has all the components needed to support UAS education, training, research and commercialization.
The Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park, located on the grounds of the Grand Forks Air Force Base, is under construction and will provide state-of-the-art facilities for UAS development, testing and training, sensor technology development and data analysis and management. It capitalizes on the state’s UAS test site, the expertise of regional academic institutions such as the University of North Dakota's UAS Center of Excellence. Grand Sky’s facilities are expected to accommodate companies, educational institutions, government contractors and public agencies involved in the UAS sectors.
Dalrymple announced the state’s latest funding commitment for Grand Sky at the Grand Forks County Office Building.  Those joining Dalrymple included members of the Grand Forks County Commission, Grand Forks County Regional Economic Development President and CEO Klaus Thiessen, Grand Sky Development President Tom Swoyer and North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson.
Officials with Grand Sky and the North Dakota Department of Commerce have actively recruited Northrop Grumman, General Atomics and other aviation companies to establish a UAS presence at Grand Sky and to utilize the nation’s first UAS test site. Sen. John Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer are meeting with General Atomics executives in Grand Forks today.
Dalrymple has led the state’s efforts to establish a national UAS test site in North Dakota and to develop a national hub for UAS manufacturing, research and development. Working toward those goals, some of the state’s notable achievements include:
  • May 2013 - Dalrymple established the Northern Plains Unmanned Aerial Systems Authority.  The six-member authority, chaired by Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, has worked ever since to develop a national UAS test proposal, to earn a test site designation and to develop a test site operation that meets FAA certification.  The authority is charged with overseeing the operations of North Dakota’s UAS test site, including the development of public safety protocols,  privacy safeguards and UAS research and development opportunities. Former 119th North Dakota Air National Guard Commander Col. Robert Becklund serves as director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. 
  • December 2013 - The Federal Aviation Administration selects North Dakota to operate one of only six national UAS test sites. The FAA cited North Dakota’s strong proposal, its national standing in aviation and aerospace sciences, university research and development capabilities as well as the state’s diverse climate and open airspace. 
  • April 2014 - North Dakota’s Northern Plains UAS Test Site was the nation’s first to be FAA certified as ready to begin the work of integrating unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace.  
  • February 2015 - The U.S. Air Force and Grand Forks County officials signed an enhanced use lease agreement, paving the way for the development of the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park. 
  • February 2015 - North Dakota lands its first UAS manufacturing venture when Wahpeton-based ComDel Innovation and Altavian begin manufacturing unmanned aerial systems and UAS components at ComDel’s plant in Wahpeton. 
  • April 2015 - Northrop Grumman Corporation becomes Grand Sky’s anchor tenant. 
  • Since 2013, North Dakota has invested more than $30 million to establish a national UAS test site, to establish Grand Sky and to advance North Dakota’s position as a hub for the nation’s growing UAS industry. 
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