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UND prepares to debut UAV simulators

UND's new ScanEagle unmanned aircraft sits on its launcher. Photo by John Stennes/Forum Communications Co.

UND is holding a grand opening of its new simulation center at Grand Forks Air Force Base Aug. 10, marking a milestone in the university's quest to become an unmanned aircraft research hub.

University officials will be sharing the spotlight with officials from L-3, makers of the Predator simulators at the $2 million facility. UND said it will be the first civilian operators of the simulators.

Planning for the simulation center began in early 2009, but the contract with L-3 and the lease agreement with the Air Force didn't happen until early this year.

UND said the 5,000-square-foot facility can accommodate 24 students, but can expand to 9,000 to 10,000 square feet if needed.

Grand Forks Air Force Base is home to Predator Bs operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and will soon be home to Air Force Global Hawks.