Northern Plains Spearheads UAS Test Site Unmanned Logistics Program

The Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) is spearheading Project ULTRA, a significant initiative supported by the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment (OUSD) and Senator John Hoeven. This project, in collaboration with Grand Forks County, GrandSKY, NASA, AFRL, MITRE, and industry leaders, aims to enhance the Department of Defense’s (DoD) capabilities within the National Airspace System (NAS).

Trevor Woods, Executive Director, NPUASTS.

Project Goals and Innovations

Project ULTRA seeks to revolutionize situational awareness and traffic management in the NAS, directly supporting DoD missions. A key focus is ensuring reliable logistical and supply delivery to remote military locations using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). This initiative leverages the unique capabilities of North Dakota’s operational flight test environment and the NPUASTS’s BVLOS capabilities approved by the FAA.

Strategic Importance

Trevor Woods, Executive Director of NPUASTS, emphasized the project’s potential: “This initiative will not only enhance the Department of Defense’s operational capabilities but also solidify North Dakota’s position as a leader in UAS innovation. Our efforts will pave the way for groundbreaking advancements in logistics and traffic management.”

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum highlighted the state’s investment in UAS infrastructure, totaling over $100 million, as foundational for this partnership: “By advancing the concept of using drones to deliver supplies to our military forces in remote areas, this partnership with OUSD will significantly boost North Dakota’s well-earned reputation as the proving ground for UAS technology.”

About the Northern Plains UAS Test Site

The NPUASTS, one of seven FAA-designated UAS Test Sites, specializes in autonomous technology solutions, innovating and advancing these technologies for tangible community benefits. Through high-quality research, commercialization of UAS technologies, and active policy development, the NPUASTS integrates UAS into the National Airspace System.