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Northland technical college partners with Northrop Grumman

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Northrop Grumman Corp., a worldwide unmanned aerial systems (UAS) company, will donate the use of its Bat Unmanned Aircraft System and associated equipment to Northland Community & Technical College in Thief River Falls, Minn. Bat, a medium-altitude, multi-mission UAS that is runway independent and fully autonomous, will be used to train students on UAS maintenance and repair.

Along with the craft, NCTC will have access to flight control and launch and recovery elements. The college’s newly remodeled, 18,760-square-foot aerospace site features labs that focus on non-metallic structure and composites, electronics and avionics, according to NCTC. A new hangar also has been added, designed with special considerations for housing and operating UAS such as the Bat. NCTC’s program teaches students UAS components, including the systems themselves, ground control stations, communication and guidance systems, and basic understanding of computer networks and their relationships within the UAS, according to NCTC.

Northrop Grumman is building a new 36,000-square-foot facility at Grand Sky Unmanned Aerial Systems Business and Aviation Park near Grand Forks, which is about 50 miles southwest of Thief River Falls. The facility will support research and development, aircrew and maintenance training, operations and mission analysis, and aircraft maintenance in the region.

“Northrop Grumman has been a friend and partner to NCTC since we started working in the UAS industry,” says Curtis Zoller, associate dean of aerospace and agriculture at NCTC, in a statement. “The Bat UAS collaboration represents another firm example of ongoing commitments to find innovative solutions to training today’s workforce. Northland Aerospace will integrate the system into our current training programs in order to offer the most advanced training possible to our students. Investments made by NCTC and partners like Northrop Grumman in infrastructure and technology over the past years have all been focused on advanced student education. It is all about the students.”

Rick Crooks, director of advanced systems for Northrop Grumman Autonomous Systems, says in a statement, “Northrop Grumman is pleased to make the Bat system and its support equipment available to enhance UAS training at Northland Community Technical College. NCTC is a leader in producing aviation mechanics and technicians, and we’ve already hired several of their graduates. Our collaboration reflects the commitment we made in 2013 to this area and to the advancement of UAS technologies through the Red River Valley Strategic Alliance Agreement. The Red River Valley is fast becoming a key center for unmanned aircraft systems and we’re proud to support its growth.”

Story written by Prairie Business Magazine and published here

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