Grand Forks Expands Unmanned Aircraft Presence

Officials from Grand Forks AFB, N.D., and the University of North Dakota have signed the lease to convert a large building at the base into a state-of-the-art training area for the university’s unmanned aircraft system center of excellence. The facility, which is expected to open in June, will house a Predator Mission Aircrew Training System, a state-of-the-art remotely piloted aircraft simulator used to train MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper pilots, reports Dakota Student Online. Students in the school’s UAS degree program will train in the simulator as will employees of federal agencies and NATO partners. UND will be the first civilian operator of PMATS. “We look forward to UND being recognized as the premier UAS aircraft training program in the world,” said Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) in a release. Grand Forks already hosts MQ-9s used for US border surveillance and is slated to receive RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40 RPA. (See also Grand Forks Herald report)