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From left: Mick Jaggers, Northrop Grumman vice president; Jay Schuler, director of the North Dakota Department of Commerce; Randy Richards, aide to Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.); Janis Pamiljans, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president; Tom Brusegaard, aide to Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.); Matthew Leiphon, aide to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.); and David Hambleton, Northrop Grumman's Grand Sky program manager. UND Presdent Mark Kennedy can be seen behind Schuler. IMAGE: NORTHROP GRUMMAN

Northrop Grumman holds ribbon-cutting ceremony for Grand Sky facility

GRAND FORKS — Northrop Grumman held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today for its new facility in the Grand Sky Unmanned Aerial Systems Business and Aviation Park west of Grand Forks. The company says the facility will serve as a “nucleus” for research and development, pilot, operator and maintainer training, operations and mission analysis, and aircraft maintenance.

Northrop Grumman, a global security company with corporate offices in London and Falls Church, Virginia, is a major systems and technology provider for the U.S. Air Force. Grand Sky, located on the Grand Forks Air Force Base, is the nation’s first UAS business park.

Janis Pamiljans, corporate vice president for Northrop Grumman and president of Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, said the company’s Grand Sky facility is the latest example of its commitment to the Red River Valley and its support of UAS and North Dakota’s Northern Plains UAS Test Site, which was the first in the nation to receive beyond-line-of-sight flight permissions from the Federal Aviation Administration.

“The journey started a long time ago,” Pamiljans said of Northrop Grumman’s Grand Sky location. “If you want people to think differently, to innovate differently, to collaborate differently, you have to build facilities like this.

“We are delighted to officially begin operations here at Grand Sky, cementing our leadership in the development and use of autonomous systems in partnership with North Dakota’s UAS community,” Pamiljans said. “The important work performed at Grand Sky will support the evolving needs of our customers while advancing research and development of our autonomous systems’ capabilities for today and the future.”