THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. — Northrop Grumman is donating the use of equipment related to the Bat Unmanned Aircraft System to Northland Community & Technical College (NCTC) as part of the continuing support of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) efforts in the Red River Valley area of North Dakota and Minnesota.
The Bat is a medium altitude, multi-mission unmanned aircraft system that is runway-independent and fully autonomous. It’s designed to launch from a pneumatic/hydraulic rail launcher and recover into a net recovery system, college officials explained.
The equipment, including the aircraft, flight control and launch and recovery elements, will be used by NCTC at the aerospace site in its UAS maintenance and training program.
NCTC recently finished up an 18,760-square-foot remodeling project at the aerospace site that will house the new equipment. Included in the new facility at Thief River Falls Airport are new labs focused on non-metallic structure and composites, electronics and avionics, and a new hangar, which has been designed with specialized considerations for housing and operating unmanned aerial systems.
The program trains students on the maintenance and repair of the components of unmanned aerial systems.
Northrop Grumman is building a 36,000-square-foot facility at Grand Sky Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Business and Aviation Park near Grand Forks, N.D., that will support research and development, aircrew and maintenance training, operations and mission analysis, and aircraft maintenance.