By: Robb Jeffries
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Representatives of government, academic and private organizations signed a “strategic alliance agreement” Thursday to further promote unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the Grand Forks region.
The Grand Forks Base Realignment Impact Committee, the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks and Northland Community and Technical College, which has campuses in East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls, Minn., signed the agreement with Northrop Grumman, a UAS industry leader, at the UAS Action Summit in the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.
The signing improves the area’s bid to be one of six Federal Aviation Administration test sites for integrating unmanned aircraft into manned airspace, officials said.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said a decision from the FAA should come by December.
Northrop Grumman has also committed to being a main tenant in the proposed Grand Sky UAS tech park at Grand Forks Air Force Base.
BRIC members said they plan to finalize the land lease with the Air Force by October, with an anticipated move in date for tenants to be Jan. 1, 2015.