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Letter: Vote for Sen. Hoeven for enhancing the Grand Forks AFB

As a member of the U.S. Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, Sen. Hoeven enabled the U.S. Air Force to divest 20 Block 30 Global Hawks this summer and transfer them to the DoD Test Resource Management Center’s (TRMC) Sky Range hypersonic missile testing program on Grand Sky on the Grand Forks AFB, similar to the senator’s efforts with four Block 20 Global Hawks that were transferred to TRMC at Grand Sky in 2021.

Letter to the editor FSA
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Are you a voter who thinks, “what has this person done for me lately and what will they do for me in the future?” If you are, then there is only one choice for U.S. Senate this Nov. 8: Sen. John Hoeven.

For decades the Grand Forks Air Force and UND have been the lifeblood of our region. Our community needs these two institutions to prosper. Let me just concentrate on the Grand Forks Air Force Base in combination with the growing UAS industry. No single person has done more for base retention and the growth of our local UAS industry than Sen. Hoeven.

As a member of the U.S. Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, Sen. Hoeven enabled the U.S. Air Force to divest 20 Block 30 Global Hawks this summer and transfer them to the DoD Test Resource Management Center’s (TRMC) Sky Range hypersonic missile testing program on Grand Sky on the Grand Forks AFB, similar to the senator’s efforts with four Block 20 Global Hawks that were transferred to TRMC at Grand Sky in 2021.

Hoeven secured language supporting the Sky Range program enabling the Air Force to make the Block 30 fleet available to be Range Hawks. Additionally, Sen. Hoeven helped secure a contract last year for Northrop Grumman to convert four Block 20 Global Hawks into Range Hawks for use under the Sky Range program.

Sen. Hoeven said of these efforts: “We are offering an opportunity to the U.S. military that they cannot find anywhere else. They can do it faster, cheaper and better if they are doing it at Grand Sky, because nobody has the kind of partners we have.”

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Sky Range will retrofit the long-endurance unmanned aerial systems (UAS) with advanced instrumentation and sensors to support high-priority DoD flight tests worldwide, such as hypersonic missile testing. Grand Sky serves as Sky Range’s central hub, making the location an integral and critical component of the DoD’s test and evaluation infrastructure and strategy worldwide. There are now 24 Global Hawks at Grand Sky ready for a new mission, which will create at least 400 new high paying, technical jobs in Grand Forks, which could grow significantly over the next 5 to 10 years. This program brings eight new defense contractors to Grand Forks with new high technical jobs

Over time, Sky Range will consist of more than just Range Hawks. TRMC will similarly be converting MQ-9s into Range Reapers with advanced sensor packages helping General Atomics expand their operations at Grand Sky.

Additionally, on June 28, 2022, Sen. Hoeven and Sen. Cramer announced a $325 million contract from the Space Development Agency (SDA) on the Grand Forks AFB to develop the nation’s first Space Networking Center supported by defense contractors General Dynamics. Iridium and Raytheon. A facility on the Grand Forks AFB is being developed now to support a low-Earth-orbit satellite mission which will serve as the backbone for U.S. military communications across the globe. Grand Forks Air Force Base will play a critical role in bolstering our national security through this important satellite mission. This is also a tremendous opportunity for the entire community in terms of opening up 50 new jobs for the area and working with the city’s academic and technology community. Thanks to Sen. Hoeven’s strong advocacy and support, North Dakota’s space assets and capabilities are becoming second to none, and our excellence will improve our nation’s space-based defense. That makes Grand Forks AFB very attractive to future space, communications, and ISR missions.

These new operations and missions greatly complement GFAFB’s leadership in the Air Force’s ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) efforts with the current Block 40 Global Hawks operating in Europe, Asia, and the Pacific, as well as the dynamic, world-class UAS industry we’ve built in Grand Forks.

I think the question has been answered about what he has done for this community and what to expect from him in the future. He has walked the walk and talked the talk. I believe you should thank Sen. Hoeven with your support and your vote.

Steve Vetter is a member of the North Dakota House of Representatives from District 18 and has served since 2016. Professionally he is a Certified Residential appraiser. C: 612-770-8689
steve@eappraisaloffice.com.

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