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Team Selected for North Dakota’s Statewide UAS BVLOS Network

State Of North Dakota Made A $28M Investment To Support The Creation Of A Statewide UAS Network

Collins Aerospace, L3Harris Technologies, and Thales USA have all been selected to provide systems engineering and integration services to build, implement, and operate North Dakota’s first-of-its-kind, aviation-grade, statewide network for flying UAS beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).

The companies have been contracted to work with the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) to enable real-world, scalable, commercial and public BVLOS UAS operations in North Dakota.

“With this partnership in place, North Dakota is well-positioned to create and implement what is really the next level in the UAS industry,” says Nicholas Flom, executive director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, which administers the statewide UAS BVLOS network.

In May 2019, the State of North Dakota made a $28 million investment in funding to support the creation of a statewide UAS network that would enable BVLOS flights to support operations across the state. By enabling UAS efficiencies for state and local agencies and commercial interests—both existing and future—the statewide network will facilitate economic growth opportunities in a variety of industries including agriculture, utilities, and public safety.

The first order that the system integrators have been tasked with is developing a BVLOS system development and implementation plan, with initial deployment in western North Dakota.

“We have multiple public and commercial use cases on the western side of the state, representing a variety of industries,” says Jim Cieplak, program manager for the statewide network at NPUASTS.

“This will enable the network to provide real-world benefits as we continue to build it out and expand its reach.”

Along with working to drive approvals from the FAA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the companies will also support standards, policies, and procedures for UAS to be safely and efficiently integrated into the National Airspace System (NAS).



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