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General Atomics forging partnerships with new training facility

GRAND FORKS -- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. has inked two contracts that could spark collaborative efforts at its new training facility under construction near Grand Forks.

GRAND FORKS -- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. has inked two contracts that could spark collaborative efforts at its new training facility under construction near Grand Forks.

General Atomics, which manufactures unmanned aircraft such as the Predator and Reaper lines, will work with the University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation and CAE, a developer of training services that includes flight simulators, according to a news release.

General Atomics' partnership with UND will seek to expand the commercial use of unmanned aircraft, also referred to as remotely piloted aircraft. The move is expected to create jobs and continue to boost North Dakota's status in the unmanned industry, the release said.

Under the contract, General Atomics would have access to one of UND's flight simulators, said Chuck Pineo, UND Aerospace Foundation executive vice president. Known as the Predator Mission Aircrew Training System, the machine allows users to simulate piloting or operating sensors for Predator and Reaper aircraft.

UND also has an option to provide some of its instructors for the training facility, which is expected to begin classes this summer with training for international customers starting up in the fall.

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As part of this collaboration, General Atomics also will expand its worldwide partnership with CAE, which provides simulation and flight training services to the U.S. Air Force for the Predator and Reaper aircraft systems.

"We look forward to working with UND Aerospace and CAE to meet the growing global demand for RPA instruction," General Atomics Aeronautical Systems CEO Linden Blue said in a statement.

The academy is located at Grand Sky business park, which is under construction on land adjacent to Grand Forks Air Force Base. The base serves as an operations center for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Predator B aircraft mission.

Related Topics: UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA
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