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Dalrymple, Northrop Grumman Officials Break Ground on Grand Sky UAS Facility
Post Date: Oct 15 2015

By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple today joined Northrop Grumman officials at the Grand Sky business and aviation park to break ground on a 36,000-square-foot facility that will support the aerospace giant’s unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operations. Northrop has leased 10 acres of land at Grand Sky and will invest about $10 million in the building project which will also support UAS research and development, mission analysis as well as aircrew and maintenance training.
In meetings with Gov. Dalrymple, company officials have said their business plans for Grand Sky involve a significant workforce, but specific employment details are not yet available.
“We have worked long and hard to position North Dakota as the premier destination for UAS research, development and commercialization, and our ongoing efforts are beginning to pay off in major ways,” Dalrymple said. “Northrop Grumman recognizes the many opportunities in North Dakota today for the nation’s UAS industry and we appreciate their significant investments and future plans for Grand Sky.”
Northrop Grumman signed a lease in April to become the anchor tenant at Grand Sky, a 217-acre UAS business park located at the Grand Forks Air Force Base.
“Today’s groundbreaking is a key step moving forward in Northrop Grumman’s partnership with North Dakota,” said Janis Pamiljans, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems Division. “We are proud to start this construction project and expand on our long-term commitment to this state and its advancement in UAS technologies. The important work that will be done here will support the evolving needs of our customers’ in the defense of our nation and allies.”
Talks between North Dakota officials and Northrup Grumman began after then-Lt. Gov. Dalrymple invited the company’s Sector Vice President of Operations, Gerald ‘Duke’ Dufresne, to visit North Dakota and learn more about the state’s aviation and aerospace offerings.  Since then, the state has invested more than $34 million to develop Grand Sky infrastructure; to land and develop one of only six national UAS test sites and to advance UAS research and development.
In May 2013, Dalrymple established the Northern Plains Unmanned Aerial Systems Authority.  The six-member authority, chaired by Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, successfully pursued one of only six national UAS test site designations.  A year later, North Dakota’s Northern Plains UAS Test Site became the nation’s first to be FAA certified as ready to begin the work of integrating unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace. 
Those joining Dalrymple and Pamiljans for the ground-breaking ceremony included Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, U.S. Air Force Col. Anthony Hernandez, and Grand Sky Development President Thomas Swoyer.
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