Grand Opening of the UND Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Training Facility on Aug. 10


David L. Dodds

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

University of North Dakota


Who: The University of North Dakota (UND) and L-3 Link Simulation & Training (L-3), North Dakota Governor’s Office, the State’s Congressional delegation, Base Realignment Impact Committee members, Grand Forks Air Force Base leaders, local dignitaries and other special guests

What: Dedication ceremony, ribbon-cutting and self-guided tours of the new L-3/UND UAS Training Center

When: 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 10

Where: L-3/UND UAS Training Center, Building 607, Grand Forks Air Force Base. Media interested in attending this event should contact UND University Relations team members Juan Pedraza or David Dodds at 701-740-1321 or 701-740-4834, respectively, for coordinating instructions on entering the base.

Pedraza and Dodds also can be reached by e-mail at or

NOTES: After the remarks and the ribbon cutting, refreshments and self-guided tours will be offered to guests. UND staff members and Grand Forks Air Force Base personnel will work with members of the media to provide access to the L-3/UND UAS Training Center and key leaders and stakeholders.

Background: The new L-3/UND UAS Training Center at Grand Forks Air Force Base is part of the UND Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence program that was established in 2006.

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence (UAS COE) performs research and development on UAS technologies, applications, and UAS human factors issues. The UAS COE also focuses on education and training for UAS integration into the national airspace system. Additionally, the center encourages commercialization of new UAS-related products and services and promotes private sector job growth within the state of North Dakota.

The L-3/UND UAS Training Center is the result of efforts of the State’s Congressional delegation and the North Dakota Governor’s Office to secure funds and to help establish an agreement between UND and U.S. Air Force to locate the facility at the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

The partnership between UND’s Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, L-3 and the Grand Forks Air Force Base has converted a large building at the base into a state-of-the-art center for research, education and training.

The center is made possible in large part by funding from a $5 million state Centers of Excellence Enhancement grant, approved under the state Centers of Excellence program. The grant will fund remodeling and staffing of the facility and help purchase from L-3 of a Predator Mission Aircrew Training System (PMATS), a state-of-the-art unmanned aircraft simulator that will be the cornerstone of the center. UND will be the first civilian operator of the PMATS.

The L-3/UND UAS Training Center is currently set up to accommodate 24 students in the classroom area with plans to make it usable for 30 in the future. There are two PMATS rooms; one will be operational immediately, the other will be available as training demand expands.

The facility also has a self-study library area with e-mail capability, kitchenette services, a conference room and additional office space for UND and L-3 employees. The facility will initially occupy about 5,000 square feet of space with the option to expand to 9,000 to 10,000 if the need arises.