UND to sign lease for UAV training center at Grand Forks Air Force BaseUND is scheduled to sign a lease Saturday with the Air Force opening the way for a new unmanned aircraft training center at Grand Forks Air Force Base, the university said Wednesday.
By: Tu-Uyen Tran, Grand Forks Herald
UND is scheduled to sign a lease Saturday with the Air Force opening the way for a new unmanned aircraft training center at Grand Forks Air Force Base, the university said Wednesday.
Last month, the university signed a deal to buy the ultra-realistic Predator simulators that would go into the center.
It’s kind of a big deal for UND, which has been working on the project for several years as part of a state and local effort to turn the Grand Forks region into a hub for unmanned aircraft industry.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple and his predecessor, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., are expected to be on hand for the signing.
The local base, once home to flying tankers and missiles, is now home to Predators flown by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It’ll eventually house Global Hawks, unmanned spy planes, and Predators now flown overseas by the National Guard’s 199th Wing in Fargo.
The Air Force has been increasing its usage of unmanned aircraft in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and continues to see a big need for new pilots. That’s where UND, a big trainer of pilots for manned aircraft, hope to make a big difference.
The total cost of UND’s training facility is about $2 million, of which $1.6 million will go into furnishings and equipment, including the simulators, according to UND's report to the State Board of Higher Education last year. Most of the funding came from the state Department of Commerce.
Reach Tran at (701) 780-1248; (800) 477-6572, ext. 248; or send e-mail to email@example.com.