Vantis UAS System Opens Mission and Network Ops

Vantis UAS

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Richards, public domain)

North Dakota’s Vantis UAS System Opens Mission & Network Operations Center

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M Crosby

This past Thursday saw Vantis, North Dakota’s statewide unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) system, formally celebrate the grand opening of its Mission and Network Operations Center (MNOC) at GrandSky Business and Aviation Park.

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The MNOC acts as Vantis’ command center and is essential to the coordination of beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight operations.

“This is the heart of Vantis,” said Trevor Woods, executive director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS), which administers Vantis. “From this location, we have the technology to monitor and control the remote infrastructure, enabling the entire operation. The MNOC will be integral to coordinating safe, repeatable BVLOS flights across North Dakota, and scalable to larger regions.”

The event featured a variety of representatives from Vantis, NPUASTS, Thales, the FAA, the UAS industry, and North Dakota state leaders, who have been granting their support to the project since authorizing its creation in 2019.

“This operations center is a prime example of how North Dakota continues to invest in technology to create opportunities for citizens and businesses and diversify our economy,” said Gov. Doug Burgum. “With Vantis, we’re creating a platform for entrepreneurs and innovators to develop new products and for the government and private sector to offer better services to the public. Today’s grand opening further cements North Dakota as a destination for UAS operations.”

Those in attendance were given the opportunity to tour the facilities and see a static display of UAS that are flying on the system. Last year, Vantis signed a long-term agreement with GrandSky and began construction on the MNOC, while at the same time choosing Thales as the Vantis system integrator and long-term partner to build out the system. Vantis has regularly been conducting site testing and validation flights in its primary test sites near Williston and Watford City, all securely monitored at the MNOC. Vantis continues to work with Thales for the expansion of the buildout to incorporate other areas of the state.

“Today marks a significant step towards the safe and efficient integration of drones into our airspace system,” said Todd Donovan, Thales’ vice president of Airspace Mobility Solutions for the Americas. “With the MNOC up and running, drones will deliver real-world economic and social benefits to North Dakota citizens, at scale.”

Read more about North Dakota’s Vantis Network:

Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.

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