Northrop Grumman draws big crowd, dignitaries to UAS tech park

By Ann Bailey | October 15, 2015

Northrop Grumman broke ground Oct. 15 on a multi-million dollar UAS facility at Grand Sky Technology Park at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.

The giant aerospace corporation is building the 36,000, square-foot, $10 million facility on 10 acres at
Grand Sky. Northrop Grumman is the first tenant in the 216-acre technology park.

About 100, local, state and federal officials, Grand Forks Air Force officers and enlisted personnel, Grand Forks Air Force Base supporters and others with an interest or a stake in the UAS industry and in the military gathered under a tent set up on the concrete at Grand Sky to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Northrop Grumman facility.

The Northrop Grumman facility will establish a nucleus for the corporation’s UAS systems, supporting research and development, aircrew and maintenance training, operations and mission analysis and aircraft maintenance in the local region.

“This is really important for us,” said Janis Pamiljans, Northrop Grumman’s Unmanned Aerial Systems division vice president and general manager. The corporation’s new facility at Grand Forks Air Force Base continues the long relationship it has had with North Dakota, Pamiljans said, noting that  Northrop Grumman has had a manufacturing facility in New Town, N.D. for the past 45 years.  

"We are proud to start this construction project and expand on our long-term commitment to this state and its advancement in UAS technologies. The important work that will be done here will support the evolving needs of our customers in the defense of our nation and allies.”

“This is a big deal,” said U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.  The teamwork of many people, including members of the military and local, state and federal officials was critical to landing Northrop Grumman at Grand Sky, Hoeven said.

The public-private partnership at Grand Sky is significant and a lesson to the rest of the United States about what working together on a project can accomplish, said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

“I can only predict great things ahead,” she said.

"This is a natural extension for us as we move into the Red River Valley,” Pamiljans said.  While economic development is an important part of Northrop Grumman’s Grand Sky project, keeping the men and women serving in the U.S. military is the corporation’s main objective.

“This dedication is more about saving lives. It’s about taking war fighters out of harm’s way,” Pamiljans said.

The Northrop Grumann facility will benefit national security, said Randy Richards, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R.-N.D.

“At the end of the day this is about the defense of our great nation.”