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Published October 01, 2010, 07:20 PM

Progress Towards A UAS Mission In Grand Forks

The Grand Forks Air Force Base is a step closer to getting the first of it's Unmanned Aircraft System.

The Grand Forks Air Force Base is a step closer to getting the first of it's Unmanned Aircraft System...bringing more opportunities to the community.

The Defense Department recently signed a Record of Decision allowing progress toward a UAS mission in Grand Forks.

"That gives us the authority to proceed with the contracting and increasing the capability of the base of communication upgrades etc to redesigning buildings to prepare for the arrival of the UAV's." Colonel John Quinn said.

Although the controls will be at the base, the first UAV's won't be in Grand Forks until sometime after that.

"In 2011 we will be receiving the MCE or mission control element of the block 20 Global Hawk." Quinn said.

The mission control element allows the base to control Global Hawks that are deployed all over the world.

Officials say this new technology opens the door for many people in the area.

"For smaller aircraft that UND may fly, that civilian companies may fly up to the large global hawk airplanes that will eventually be stationed here. That all fits, it helps the community become that UAS center for the nation." Quinn said.

The new mission will bring in more than 2-hundred people to the base over the next couple years...

"The mission at Grand Forks Air Force Base will be expanding, we'll be seeing personnel increases, more folks going downtown and living in the community. Although they may not see the associated aluminum on the ramp." Quinn said.

A mission that's not only helping the base...but Grand Forks as well.

Officials say they may be receiving up to eight UAS's sometime after 2011.

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